“People love the illusion of being connected to something.” My professor in Nashville said this one day in class and I scribbled it in the margin of my notebook before turning my attention back to the slide show. It’s a simple quote that reveals so much about the time period that we live in. We have an innate desire to be connected to something bigger than ourselves and a way a lot of people do that is through connecting with music and artists.
Why do we listen to the music that we listen to? Why do we read and watch their interviews? We love to be connected to them.
I love watching talk shows with musicians and hearing the stories behind their hit songs. We hate the idea that Swedish men sit around a table and write hit pop songs (no matter how true that is) but we don’t mind it when the artist is actually involved. We crave artists to be genuine with their music. The most impactful music is when we know the story behind the song and we hear the stories.
Take Twenty-One Pilots for example. I heard their song “Stressed Out” 3 times in the car yesterday when driving and realized why so many people identify with it. Their singer, Tyler Joseph, satirized the music industry implying that no new combinations of chords can make a new song and that you have to rhyme lyrics within the first two lines. Why do people connect to this song? It’s a whole song about pointing out flaws we see in their world. It’s a song about being genuine because people crave true connections with others.
In an interview, Tyler Joseph speaks to other artists being transparent. “They are just themselves. I look up to a lot of people who are like that. I just think that for me personally, I’m not completely like that. I’m absolutely aware of how I’m coming across. And I’m absolutely unsure of whether or not it’s good.” While he is unsure of if that is good or bad, people have connected to his honesty and insecurity he has about himself. This is one reason why fans have so recently connected to this band—Twenty-One Pilots and Tyler Joseph is so honest. This is a magnetism that draws fans in and has drawn them in for years.
A classic example of this magnetism is found in the legendary band of The Beatles. George Martin, the A&R, rep for The Beatles was the first to realize the power of this humanness. “In The Beatles, Martin recognized a spark of likability and badinage that was not rehearsed or fearful, but natural and rebellious. He fell hard for it.” He saw appeal The Beatles created by being themselves and ended up creating one of the most successful bands the world has seen. Each individual Beatle has a personality that drew the audience in forming a lovable group for their audience to connect with and their witty charms in every aspect of their career. When they went on tour in stadiums with terrible sound equipment (because keep in mind, it was the 50’s) and fans screamed so loud that they couldn’t even hear the music. Fans didn’t come to listen to what they were singing about, fans came to “connect” with this transparent band.
Take a tip from these successful musicians: Be genuine. Be transparent. Be human.