Social media is the reflection of this generation – it is all about the image Generation Z portrays online. Getting the likes, ego-boosting comments, and having a strong “ratio game” are important goals for someone living in the young, digital age. The tried-and-tested formula is to be good-looking, entertaining, and/or be willing to do peculiar stunts to get the “Insta-game” on.
Frankly, that is not much different from being today’s celebrities. Take a look at popular music artistes or YouTube stars; they usually have one of the aforementioned reasons as a common denominator. Another way of seeing it is that talent no longer substantiate the making of a star, and this is an increasing trend we are faced with in our generation. This proposes a new definition to the term “talent”, which captures both a skill and a unique personality.
To be fair, if one wants to be successful in the entertainment industry, he will have to be in sync with the rules of the game. It was all about CD or film sales in the past, but if this digital age calls for an Internet personality to be recognised, it calls for a whole new ball game. The classic music icons that we know, such as Journey, would not fit into today’s terms of an Internet personality – they were celebrities of their time because of their unrivalled musical talent and not because they had great selfies for the ‘gram.
Very much unlike our modern celebrities such as Greyson Chance, who always receives lots of “Insta-love”. In the past, music artistes had to record demos, sell it to record labels, then pray for radio airtime and CD sales – where “star power” is determined strictly by musicality alone. Now, popularity is determined by Spotify streams and Instagram follows.
This allows artistes who are not the most talented in their given field leeway to snuff out their competition. Who is not guilty of hitting repeat on Rebecca Black’s Friday? Those that get the short end of the stick are simply not done justice.
A shift in perspective for would-be celebrities or waning entertainers is needed, borne from the inescapable recent trend. By classic definition, talent is a skill that one owns. With the changing times, we need to recognise the reality that talent – on top of minimally possessing good skill of craft – also encompasses personality on social media or even the audacity to do something different. Those that embrace this will find success, while those who do not try will always be handicapped.
Take a look at legends that have evolved, such as the rock band Queen. They have embraced social media by landing Adam Lambert as a frontman – a new-age celebrity – after the late Freddie Mercury and appearing on TV talk shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live! to speak the language of the new generation.
This is a prime example of putting the personality into the talent, which sets them apart from the other acts. Bruno Mars is another exceptional case who plays by the entertainment industry’s modern rules. Recordings of his extravagant live shows with blitzing arrangements are flaunted all over YouTube, featuring his treasure of a voice as well – that’s the full package right there.
Unfortunately, the impending trend that gives rise to many more diverse celebrities also opens up a portal to many distractions that pull attention away from recognising the pure talent underneath it all. Be it from the perspective of the artiste or audience, there lies the choice of embracing the personality as part of the “talent”.
Bear in mind that the choice made at the fork of the road will entail a far-reaching outcome of the artiste-audience relationship, so remember to hit like, share and subscribe for those that actually try and deserve it too.