It’s All about Connections: The Trend in Music Artist Mentors
When the world’s most successful current pop star, Justin Bieber, was just starting out in the music industry, he was introduced to the artist who would promote his career into superstardom. It wasn’t his management, his vocal coach, or his stylist, but his newfound “mentor,” Usher. The more experienced artist knew exactly what it takes to be successful in the industry and took Justin on as his protégée. From there, their relationship became a partnership that has continued for years, with a string of smash hits for both artists, and most recently landing them on the cover of Billboard magazine this spring as the music tag-team to beat.
After the success of the Usher-Bieber mentorship, Justin decided to return the favor to Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen, of “Call Me Maybe” fame. After hearing her single on the radio, he was so impressed that he began promoting her around the world, and now has her opening for him this year at some of the world’s largest venues. Millions of viewers have seen the YouTube video that Bieber put together for the song, bringing in appearances from girlfriend Selena Gomez and friends like Ashley Tisdale. With a backer like Justin Bieber, you had better believe your single will hit number one faster than “Glee” can call you up for permission to do a cover.
Taking a cue from this trend of mentoring new artists, the hit show “The Voice” provides competing contestants the opportunity to make connections with and be mentored by some of today’s most successful artists. Not only do the coaches provide the contestants with useful feedback and training, but they repeatedly state that they will stay in touch with their team members long after the show. Coach Blake Shelton is currently promoting his season 1 finalist, Dia Frampton, whom he has brought on tour with him.
In a world where everyone with a guitar and a YouTube account is vying to be the next music star, we are seeing the “connections” card being played more than ever. The power of promotion is unparalleled with the use of social media, and influence can be shared instantaneously. The question that arises as a result is a big one: do these artists truly deserve their success, or are they famous only because of the mentor that pushed them to the number one spot? Some singers who work for years cannot catch a break no matter how talented they are, and some shoot straight to superstardom because of a chance meeting with a big artist. Is it fair? Does it matter? Sound off in the comments section below.