The name is Aja and I’m just your everyday awkward avid concert goer who has an extreme love for indie music. If I’m not writing blog posts, I’m probably at a concert or working to get my communications degree from Kennesaw State University. The goal of this blog is to bring attention to what the indie music world has to offer and give helpful concert advice along the way.
In 2017, YouTube personality Jake Paul released the music video for his self proclaimed hit single, “It’s Everyday Bro”. While the video has garnered 2.6 million likes and 4.1 million dislikes, it’s also been viewed over 228 million times. According to Genius, YouTube pays about $2,000 per one million views meaning that while this song is widely disliked, it has made and is currently making Jake Paul a lot of money.
In my opinion, the song is not good, in fact, it’s awful; and apparently 4.1 million people think the same thing. This didn’t stop the video from becoming a viral sensation however, and it lead to months of Jake Paul getting an abundance amount of press coverage, which, according who you ask didn’t turn out well in the long run. Almost everyone on YouTube was reacting to the video, some because they genuinely wanted to give their genuine opinion, others wanting to ride the trend.
The infamous hype around Jake Paul was just a catalyst for what was about to come in the next months. YouTuber music.
While the term may sound strange, and even I’ll admit that it hits the ear wrong, it’s something that’s slowly becoming more and more popular whether we like it or not. YouTube personalities such as Jake Paul, RiceGum, Tana Mongeau, Elijah Daniel and Gabbie Hanna are just a few examples of this rising trend with social media influencers. “YouTuber music” is something that catches my eye because it’s really brought attention to something that we’ll be seeing much more of in the very near future, the power of a social media following.
Now I know what you’re already thinking, “Hasn’t music always been a grassroots venture in some way? ” and you would be absolutely right! I’ve always said entertainers, especially musicians owe a lot to their fanbases, and you’ll frequently hear music artists say the exact same thing.
However, this new type of following draws attention because it asks the question, “Is it charting because it’s good, or because they have seven million followers on Instagram?” Jake Paul’s “It’s Everyday Bro” was able to chart at #1 on the iTunes charts, actually causing Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. to go down to #2. He only claimed the spot for a day, maybe not even an entire 24 hours, but that’s still ridiculous to me. I don’t care if you don’t even listen to Kendrick Lamar, but you can’t tell me that It’s Everyday Bro is in any way better than DAMN.
Now I know music is subjective and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no matter how different it may be from your own, but you can’t deny making music is all some influencers are trying to do. There are some influencers and social media personalities that are trying to make music while still making YouTube content; personalities such as Gabbi Hanna, Elijah Daniel, and Ricky Dillon to name a couple, but they’re not who I’m talking about.
With YouTubers such as Jake Paul, Logan Paul, the Dobre Brothers and so many, many more, it’s easy to see that they aren’t creating music to share art, but more about creating more money in their pockets. When you have songs that start with you saying, “We made this song in a day” or have a video that doesn’t look like it’s put much creative thought into it, it’s clear this is just a way to make money because they’re taking advantage of their young and impressionable fanbase.
Now, I’m not trying to be a killjoy and say people can’t have fun and make music because I don’t know, maybe the enjoy the actual recording process or maybe they love the video shoots that follow the song; however I can’t ignore the fact that the music being produced for the sake of money show’s it. Make money all you want, that’s not the problem, I personally have a problem with people phoning in their creativity for the sake of making a few extra bucks. It’s not an accurate description of what music today can really be like.
Dobre Brothers - Stop That (Music Video) - YouTube
“If you don’t like it, don’t listen to.” Don’t worry, I don’t. I just think it’s sad to see things songs topping on the iTunes charts, or on Spotify’s Viral Hits chart because an internet influencer has convinced a large group of people that there song is good. At the end of the day, their fans are spending their ( or their parents money) on songs that just aren’t good.
On a slightly different end of the spectrum however, we see other YouTubers such as Rhett & Link, Danny Gonzalez and Cody Ko & Noel Miller releasing music. Why aren’t I bringing them up? To me, the music they make is intended to be comedic and the listeners know that. These songs are approached and delivered in way that is supposed to make listeners laugh and if they happen to like the song, then hey, that’s an added bonus. They don’t campaign the song as if it’s something that’s amazing and something that needs to be bought.
Take “I’m On Vacation ” by Rhett and Link, for example. While this song is clearly comedic and not something that they made thinking it would be a Grammy contender, it’s still something that effort was put in to, and it shows.
I'm On Vacation (Song) - YouTube
Please don’t get me wrong, we’ve been able to see a positive outcome of Internet personalities venturing into music. Troye Sivan, dodie clark, Joji, Charlie Puth and Shawn Mendes to name a few. While you may not be someone who regularly listens to the people I’ve listed, or even like them, you can’t deny that their approach to the music industry has been one that’s been a professional and artistic one. Many of the few that I’ve just named spent a lot of their earlier years on the Internet making covers of other artists’ songs.
Kiss Me | Troye Sivan (Ed Sheeran Cover) - YouTube
Music is an art form and a way of self expression. If Jake Paul feels that he needs to write a lyric which says, “England is my city” as a way to express himself (and yes that is a real line) who am I to stop him? However, when this becomes a problem to me is when the music industry starts to bend to the will of a viral fad. Music is a business, and businesses need to make money, but is it worth sacrificing the talent that comes with it?
Music isn’t the only medium that we’ve seen this happen to. Remember the year that every YouTube personality was a New York Times best selling author despite the fact one of them had written their variation of “Wreck this Journal”? We also can’t deny the fact that more of these influencers are appearing in television shows because children today like to see faces they recognize regardless of their actual talent.
I would love to delve more into the different mediums in which this is being seen, buuuut, this is a music blog and I think it’s better that I stick true this blog’s brand. Music has become something that is so manufactured because it’s no longer being seen as something that people can relate to and use as way to escape reality, but has become a way to make a very quick buck. Watch this video of The Backpack Kid and tell me what you think.
The Backpack Kid "Flossin" Official Lyrics & Meaning | Verified - YouTube
This week we’re back with another installment of our series Local Love; a series where we highlight the talent in the greater Atlanta area. This week we’re highlighting Olympia Papageorgiou, an up and coming RnB artist from Kennesaw.
Alright so one thing I like to ask everyone I interview is what is their brand? Who is Olympia Papageorgiou?
Well to start off, I am a daughter of an Orthodox Priest who comes from the island of Cyprus. My family moved to America when I was around 8 years old or so and I have been singing since before I could remember. I am developing my brand with the label that I am with and its a pretty exciting experience. I would say that my voice mainly fits the RnB and Jazz genre.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician?
I have always loved music and I grew up in a musical family. I am not sure there was a “first realization” other than I just loved singing. Music has always been a part of my life whether it was playing the piano, dancing or singing.
I always say that whatever comes from this is okay with me, because at the end of the day, I really enjoy doing it. It does not matter if fame or even a career comes out of it because I do this for the fact that I enjoy it. Aside from being a musician, school is my number one priority so I have always placed more emphasis there but my passion for music never went away and I will accept what comes from it.
Well, I would say there are different inspirations or influences depending on if I am singing Greek or American music. When it comes to Greek music, I really respect the singer Areti Ketime because of her traditional folk sound that I strive for when I sing traditional Greek music. When it comes to making original American music, I would say that I can jump around in different genres so my influences vary.
The first single I released was a Reggaeton inspired single and my second was an RnB single. When I sing more of the jazzy sultry types of music, I would say Ella Fitzgerald, Alicia Keys and Sade are big influences. I also like Selena Gomez and her smooth but pop sound. I try to stay open to doing different types of music to see what I am capable of.
You’ve recently released a single “8th Day“, absolutely love it by the way, could you tell me what when into the songwriting process of that?
Oh thank you! I am actually an artist under this label called Qurriculum Globaland the owner of the label wrote 8th Day with me in mind about a year ago. The moment I heard the instrumental, I totally fell in love with it. We worked together to incorporate some sultry melodies that we both felt accentuated my more soulful/jazzy style.
Even though the song is obviously in English, there is a moment where I speak in Greek. I love to infuse elements of my Greek heritage into songs to add some extra flavor. This helps me in a sense to remain “rooted.” I have never felt more confident about singing until I had the opportunity to record that song. It brought a side out of me that I have always wanted to explore with my voice.
When can we expect more music from you? Do you plan to release an album anytime soon?
My team and I are working on my debut EP for a projected release hopefully at the end of the year. In between now and then our focus is on 8th Day and getting the word out. There will definitely be songs that I will be featured on from other artists that are under the label though.
If you could collaborate with any artist(s), who would it be and why?
It would be pretty cool to do something with Selena Gomez, Alicia Keys or SZA. I respect their talents and it would be an honor to work with them because they all encapsulate different aspects of my voice and style that I could experiment with and use as a reference to challenge myself.
This week on ThisIsHowYouMusic, I’m happy to introduce the second installation of our series, “Local Love”, highlighting the work of Solomon. I was able to speak with him personally to get to know more about him.
While most may know you as Broderick, I have to ask, why Solomon as your stage name?
The name Solomon actually was chosen simply because that’s one of my middle names. I hold that middle name close to heart because, of course, it originated from Solomon the wise king heir of David.
I guess that brings me to my next question, who is Solomon? What is your brand, what makes you stand out?
Solomon is a representation of myself, a simple musical “attaché” who desires to provide good content quality art to the music industry. My brand is authenticity, embracement of one’s true self, and the dispersion of acceptance and positivity. My sounds involved in my music is one thing I would definitely say makes me “stand out”.
When did you know you wanted to get into performing, and have you always wanted to do neo soul?
I always wanted to perform. Ever since I was a youngin, I’ve been always trying to be the center of attention. It’s funny though, cause when I get it, I get shy and nervous. Neo-Soul is just one of the musical avenues I decided to follow because I loved bringing that contemporary RnB feel to my music.
Who would you say are some of your inspirations?
Some of my direct inspirations would be my boy Zer0speaks (big shout out to him) because he got me into music, also Right Brain (shout out) because he got me into producing, Kanye West because he just works with the voice in so many different ways to create beauty in music, Kid Cudi because he influenced the game a lot and the power of good vocals and transferable energy, and Pharrell Williams because of his impact on the music game in general and his consistency yet diversification in his music.
One thing I would like to touch on is the event you held earlier this year. You held something entitled, the High Note music competition. What was that exactly, and what inspired you to create it?
High Note (shoutout to Alex S. and Royland L. on that). Yes, High Note was a music competition I helped organize and operate, it was a philanthropic way (winner of the competition gets to donate $1,005.00 to their selected charity) to recognize the talent we have in the university system.
There doesn’t seem to be encouragement for the talented singer-songwriters to pursue their dreams and fulfill potential, while also pursuing a continued education.
It’s difficult and Royland, Alex, and I wanted to innovate the way of how we encourage recognizing local artists in a crowd-drawing way of making it into a competition. I can’t speak for the creator (Royland), but as Co-Creator I was inspired to reach out to the community and also showcase the beautiful talent that might continue that residual in encouraging others to pursue music.
I’m driving 70 down I-75, contemplating if I want to reach for the radio dial, but I ultimately decide that I don’t, for you see I’m left with a choice. Do I want to purposely subject myself to the pointless dribble that the mainstream wants to call “music” or do I want to continue to sit on my high horse, listening to the same 5 indie pop songs because I have this idea of complex superiority that the average pop music listener will never understand.
Photo by Samuel Burress Johnson
The year is 2013 and I can’t be bothered by anything that isn’t Arctic Monkeys, The 1975, or The Neighbourhood. Yeah, I may only know songs such as Sweather Weather, Do I Wanna Know, or Chocolate, but that doesn’t matter; because I listen what I like to call, “Pop music with substance.” I may only know their singles, but I’m going to act as if I’ve been a fan of this band since their first EP, despite the fact I really don’t know a single word being said in Chocolate.
Photo by Bring Me The Horizon
The year is now 2014 and I’ve decided to give into my angsty teen years at 18, basically had a membership at Hot Topic and you couldn’t scroll through my Instagram without seeing me in a black T Shirt that had a band name in a font that looked like an unorganized cluster of dead branches. Okay, so I may not be able to understand exactly what the frontman is screaming at me, but I’m sure it has meaning and it’s not just about cheesy lyrics and unrequited love.
I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s all I had associated with pop music. Cheesy lyrics and unrequited love.
Pop music, as it is defined, is “a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the United States and United Kingdom during the mid-1950s.” It is a genre of music that has had many artists become the face of it. In the 1950’s, we had the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee and many more representing the face of what is now, traditional pop.
We then went through different eras of music, the 60’s was filled with what we now called Classic Rock, though it was just Rock to them. The 70’s had a hyperactive craze surrounding disco and big afros and bell bottom jeans.
Then came that of the 80’s and those that are now considered “Synthpop”, reigned over the genre. You had acts such Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, and a-ha; and yes, even though Take On Me was the only successful hit of a-ha, you can’t deny that you enjoy singing along.
The 90’s was a fast paced time filled with alternative rock music that most punk bands now try to resurrect, and a type of hip hop/rap that most of us can only wish we could hear once again on the radio.
However, what most pop music haters don’t seem to realize is that, at one point, most of the songs we know were in fact, popular. They may not be considered what the industry now considers “pop music” but it was popular nonetheless and we don’t feel the need to invalidate that artistry, so why do we do so today?
The year is now 2017 and I’m actually heartbroken I didn’t buy tickets to see The Vamps when they came to my town. I now happily belt out the words to “That’s My Girl” by Fifth Harmony, I’m not afraid to say that I love “Purpose” by Justin Bieber, and I’m not afraid to say that I’m more than excited to see Harry Styles next year. Pop music does not mean you have a manufactured taste in music, it simply means you enjoy what’s popular; and what’s wrong with that?
Earlier this year, I came across a song on Spotify entitled “21” and it was written by an artist by the name of Jenna Holiday. For today’s blog post, I decided to reach out to Jenna herself and ask her more about her upcoming music and what our readers can expect from her. Enjoy!
Hello! Do you think you could tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Hi! My name is Jenna Holiday. I’m a 16 year old singer and songwriter from the Boston area and best known for my debut single “21”!
Wow, only 16 and already so much talent! How long have you been interested in writing and performing music?
I’ve been writing pretty much for as long as I could hold a pencil or navigate a keyboard, although it wasn’t until last year that I decided to release any material. Since then I’ve been writing absolutely none stop while balancing school and music programs when I can fit them in!
This summer, I attended the Grammy Recording Academy’s summer camp held on the USC campus in LA and it was absolutely insane. I met so many incredible musicians and fell in love with LA even more, if possible.
What could current and future listeners expect from this album?
My debut album, which I’ve been working relentlessly on for the past year or so, shows the narrative of an original character. You may already be familiar with said character from “21”, which like the rest of the album, is from his perspective. The album will tell you his backstory and detail his rise to fame and his inevitable fall, all resolving with “21” as the last track.
The music you’ll be hearing from me in the (not so distant) future mirrors the theatrics of Lorde and Allie X, and captures the dynamics of Thomston and Melanie Martinez. I consider myself to be what only can be best described as a concept artist. I approach my craft like that of a storyteller, and see myself as more of the author of a story told through my music, rather than being the face of it all.
So it sounds like we should be expecting this album soon.
As of now, my debut album is completely written and in the production process, although that hasn’t stopped me from continuing writing! I’ve been working even further into the future, bringing on board one of my best friends and cowriter Emma Cobalt to help create the storylines and music of future albums.
What is something you hope to convey to those that listen to your debut album?
I hope to redefine the way people think of concept albums and musical storytelling, and I’ll be telling you a wild and twisting tale featuring a handful of original characters all littered throughout my music. I’m so so insanely excited to bring this vision to life through music, visuals, videos, and by any means possible! My next single will be out in the very near future, and I’m beyond excited for everything to come!
You can find Jenna at her social media links below: