Monday, 23 June 2014

#MUSICMONDAY: TALK ON CORNERS - The Theory of Relevance


Hello Reader Friends,

Please do excuse, and forgive my hiatus just before the close of what is probably my favourite theme week to date. A period of ill-health landed me a guest of the NHS - my oh so gracious hosts...

Before that however, I had two extremely important pieces that I just had to close out with, and this is one of them. Tackling a sticky subject, I wanted to write a feature from an angle that is not often seen. I wanted to take an in-depth look at a negative factor in the career of one the entertainment world's most charming artists. I was engrossed in what I learned, and I hope that you are too. Let's discuss the 'Theory of Mariah Carey's Relevancy, as a Credible Artist in Today's Music Climate'. 

Please share your thoughts on the topic discussed in the Comment Box, but be aware that abusive, or inappropriate messages will be removed.
_____________________________

When Mariah Carey first released the album E=MC2, the media had a field day with The Elusive Chanteuse's audacity in referencing Einstein's genius, with her fluffy pop nonsense.


Mariah Carey representation by RockY14
Relativity has never been Mariah's strong points when it comes to the critics out for her blood, or better still, her graceful retirement. What those lovely bunches describe as a long overdue career move on her part, she views as a concept that will never apply to her, because received well or not, she will always make music. And isn't it just as well she sticks to her guns (or stilettos in her case)? Had she listened, we would have no Emancipation, no Precious, no Me.I Am…and a lot more. In conversation with a professional photographer recently, on mentioning the conditions whenever she tries to enter, or leave a building, his immediate response was "…although I don't know why, she hasn't done anything of relevance in years…" Typically, his standarduniformed response did initially irritate me; but I chose instead to educate him on why you shouldn't ingest ALL of the regurgitated bile that the media spews at you – you have a choice – ALWAYS SPITNEVER SWALLOW!

Still, his well-replayed question has always baffled me, because here is a woman who, for the past 25 years, has dominated the popularity stakes with, or without the addition of the charts. I'm aware of the confusion reflected on many screens at this moment in time, but stay with me here…

Mariah Carey is notorious for being a buxom airhead, with ridiculous Diva antics that she sometimes takes too far (good cause or not, you cannot allow your team to schedule a children’s foundation gala, at the same time that you are supposed to be opening a live television showcelebrating you as their guest of honour).

Fully aware of her public personaCarey mocks herself mercilessly for the amusement of her fans; the press however, use these opportunities to paint her as someone endlessly superficial, and self-indulgent. Were she the simpleton that most media project her to be, then she would have been the giggly teenager that signed over her publishing rights for the track 'All In Your Mind' for $5000, in early 1990. Instead, the level-headed young woman turned the offer down, and kept the highest stake of her nine-times platinum-sellingeponymous album, which contributed to her current half-billionairess status. But that's beside the point.

Her single most, self-sufficient decisioninfluenced a new generation of supposedly more appealing wave of females wearing less than the suits they were born with (I REFUSE to call these mostly entertaining, exotic dancers 'Divas', when all they have is a sense of entitlement that they have yet to earnBeyoncé will be the first, and probably only, to graduate into 'The Club' – IF she's lucky). They learned to play the game from watching her. What other invaluable knowledge did she impart? Well quite simply, the 'Art' (if there is any), in their craft - every element from singing style, to musical partnerships, to inclusion in boardroom decisions, and market diversity. How Mariah Carey has stayed relevant through the times of change is simple – by leading the pack. No, I'm not still high from hospital pharmaceuticals - pay attention; I have some overwhelming evidence to lay on you

We all know how she changed the course of music; not by fusing Pop, and RnB from as early as her first album in 1990 (if you've listened then you've learned) – all she did was prove she's had an RnB element from the very startMariah changed music history by opening the door for Hip Hop to be played alongside Pop, and Rock, on mainstream radio, by fusing it with RnB in 1996. Since Janet owns Queen of PopMary owns Queen of Hip Hop & RnB, and Ms Aretha will forever be the Queen of SoulI reckon this single act, earns Mariah the Queen of Fusion as a title – doncha think? That’s not all though…When it comes to how Mariah has used Music to stay a step ahead, there are more avenues than you can count. Consider Market Diversity for instance, where it's safe to say, that Mariah set some trendsRecording in Spanish gave Mariah a way in which to honour her Latina heritage through her gift - an opportunity that she has come to relish. With that trademark under her wing, and so many others to choose from, that for a time, she recorded other foreign-language versions of her singles. Hey – she even taught uber Supermodel Gisele Bundchen the English language through her music, so clearly choosing to leave that idea aside for awhile, was no bad decision.


 

Whilst they are all the rage now, at the time of Mariah's 1994, 'Merry Christmasalbum, there was a hole in the market, that Mr Tommy Mottola picked up on, and set about to fill. You see there were a host of Christmas albums in the charts, but none were by youngcontemporary artiststopping the charts o’ the day. With that one decisioncame a hit that in 2013, after almost 20 years of repeat buyers every December, became the first multi-platinum Christmas single, and by suit, the most successful Christmas single of all time. Relevant? Methinx so. Add to that, Mariah early on, cornered another market that none of her contemporaries thought to brave; alongside the Queen of Fusion, you could safely say that she is the undisputed Queen of The Remix (insert wispy vocal run here). With re-sung vocals for every track, this lady just doesn't play around!










Many question Mariah's relevance on the base of Billboard's Top 200 charts. What they forget however, is that Nielsen's Soundscan counts the several other charts where you will find Mariah reigning supremeDance remixes, for example, are her personal pot of gold. Take last year's summer hit #Beautiful








At this point, I would like to take the opportunity to personally lead a chorus of laughter at every hack in the world, who does not know what the hashtag stands for, so proceeds to belittle it in tantrum! It's not her fault if you're not 'down with the kids' when her 44-year-old self, is! She has the fans of the RnB/Hip Hop chart to thank, for her latest #1 album – the current 'Me.I Am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse'. Yes, you are correct in thinking that it has dropped out of the current Top 100 chart, but as is so often said – numbers don't lie. Unfortunately, it's true of age as well. Aside from Countries like Japan, where one of her biggest fanbases resideMariah's once hardcorereliablebuying market are all placing mortgages and car finance higher than chart releases. That's now the job of teenyboppers and tweens, who sadly value boybands and female nudity with backing tracks, over intellectual lyricsmusical excellence and, y’know, talent.


Her music has raised millions for charity, often the result of many a donated single ('Hero – Help for Heroes'2008, '9/11 Survivors'2001), personal supportseveral alliances, and philanthropic endeavours (American Foundation for AIDS ResearchClothes Off Our BacksFresh Air FundOperation SmileLive 8Stand Up To Cancer, and manymany more). Love it or hate it - we already know that her influence is responsible for the singing styles of a new legion, and before there were Barbz, the Beyhive, or the 'Armies' to support them, a worldwide group of Lambs had come together in worship and patronage of The One and Only.

Only the Mariahs of this world can bring back Liz Taylor’s corner in the scent market, using her song titles as perfume monikers – let me guess, you thought Beyoncé did that?! No, no dear readers - not the case. It was Ms Carey, and her aforementioned lambs, that boosted her now 12-strong line of best-sellers. Please believe Elizabeth Arden aren't ones for throwing good money after bad – her scents bring in their high cents; hence why they keep adding to the collection! Staying on the commercial market side of the street, Mariah has always been very selective about whom she allows to use her name in their brand's promotion. Yes, that cheque does need to be of the larger variety, but the sheer fact that she can command these figures – yes, we will discuss the perks of that $18 million dollar American Idol jackpot later – proves that she is a very viable, and respected name across multiple industries – think the Inaugural Venus legs of a Goddess. She is most definitely likely to put her name to projects that will allow her to connect with the younger generation. Her latest Butterfly drink with a QR Code that lets you access special Mariah-related content and information, may be the first drink of its kind, but she didn't start there. Once Upon A Time, a Pepsi allegiance saw her creating signature ringtones in a variety of personalitiesperformed by Carey who, at the time, claimed something along the lines of there being a choice for almost every type of call one was ever likely to receive.

Kicking things up a notch is nothing new to Mariah Carey. With the release of her twelfth studio album, 'Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel', came another interactive offering, this time, in the form of a miniature inlay magazineglossy enough to give Vogue and Cosmo a run for their money. Complete with interviewsfavourite selectionsfashion choices, and everything else that a person could possibly want to know about the world's best-selling Diva, the deluxe album gift was a great welcome to new fans and old. Now we've already covered most of Mariah's big and small-screen undertakings; but did you also know that there was another, lesser-known outlet, where she also shone loud and clear to an outdoor venue full of concert goers, in five different cities? In November 2011 (pre-Tupac at Coachella), Mariah became the first artist to do so, with the help of T-Mobile, and Musion Holographic 3D Technology, for their 'Life is for SharingcampaignIrrelevant you say? HA! (My) Bragging asideMariah's goal has always been to interact with her fans. That's why long before the days of Social Media, she would use her website to leave personally recorded voicemails to her fans.


 

purposely left the last area for proof of Mariah's relevance in Music, and as a viablesales investment for the last topic that we touch on, because it is the touchiest of topics where Ms. MC is concerned; that time is now upon us so...let's talk Fashion

Most are sceptical at the suggestion of Mariah Carey as a Trend Leader, but there are certain areas where, sceptical or not, the proof comes down to visual evidence. For instance, I'm sure that we all remember 1999's Heartbreaker video – the most expensive video ever made up to that point in time. Well it is now (concrete) lore of old, that right before filmingMariah's wardrobe manager still hadn't found anything 'special' to do with her jeans, that would define the fashion of her new album era. On hearing of the conundrumMariah came to her own rescue, by hacking off the waistbandfurther fraying the edges for effect. By the following fashion season, her split-secondquick-thinking amendment was reflected on catwalks, with no recognition whatsoever of who inspired them. Another trend that I'm certain will take off in some effect soon, is her new 1-hand update from Olivia Pope's short-glove trend; which I can personally attest to having seen in the AW14 trend forecastsShonda has a lot of Scandal loving Gladiators out there. Mariah has singlehandedly (pun intended) managed to reconnect the style, to create the powerful bond a strong woman, with musical genius (because y'know there was that one guy, who had a thing about a white, singlesequinned glove).

After Imelda Marcos, the next generation's shoe Queen is undoubtedly Mrs Cannon. With more pairs than even she can count, and a boutique-style wardrobe just for them, Mariah leads her contemporaries, and the NewGen, with lessons in the design houses to frequent. She is so well loved amongst designers, that the likes of Roberto Cavalli send her creations just because a new design makes him think of her! Can SOMEONE please tell me where to meet this man, so that he'll just think of me, a couple of times a year?!


 

As Mariah said at the OUT 100 Awards last November, her "boobs have been out for years". It's a statement that no-one could deny, even if they wanted to; alongside the suggestion that maybe they could go INside and play sometimes. The trend-setting Mariah Carey is fearlessanswers to absolutely no-one, and makes it possible for others to do the same as often as possible, through her apparel and accessories line, the first of which – 'Honey B. Fly' - debuted in 1998, before any other artist thought to create clothing and accessory lines. Available through her website initially, the first brand spawned 'Automatic Princess' in 2004in collaboration with Claire's Accessories – their first sold out collection, before mysteriously being discontinued in the same year.

Beyond all of the evidence of Mariah's marketable relevance above, if you buy none of those numbers, then consider thisMariah Carey has pull with everyone from the President of Def Jam, to that other one who runs the Country. Guess that $84 million Virgin payoff didn't do too much damagenow did it? Mariah ISwithout a doubt, an A-List heavyweight. Were she not, the world's leading designers would not be tripping over themselves to provide attire for everything from scheduled appearances, to premières, to that little American Idol gig that everyone keeps disparaging. Her influence runs so far, that she has had to dispense with the blinged out microphone and stand that she made little too much of a trend. All has worked out for the best though; the new gold stage microphone fits perfectly with the 'chanteusepersona, so you could consider her fad donated to charity.

With a perfectly manicured toe in every pie, Mariah Carey's theory of relevance is to BE the ingredients for every filling, making sure every slice she offers is filled to the brim with her flavour.



Got a (politetheory of your own? The stage - aka Comment Box below, is YOURS - and in the words of the great lady herselfBe Nice Or Leave!
_____________________________

Until the next...
ES ;)