I can't help it... my heart goes out to the trending Miss Lana Del Rey today following her unfortunate world debut on SNL as a live performer. I'm a HUGE fan of her recordings & videos and I can't imagine how she must feel. There's nothing worse than knowing that you disappointed your fans at a huge show; I can't even fathom it at this magnitude. I can't even post it cuz it's so painful to watch and I feel like a bad person for spreading the awkward. You can google it if you really want to see it or you can just trust me: it was bad. Actually maybe don't google it on second thought. "Blue Jeans", my fave song... oh. I had to pretend it didn't happen and then put the album recording on my iPod like 4 times in a row to cleanse my brain of it.
I guess the lesson is this: if you're gorgeous & have a lovely voice & insane connections & you get signed to interscope & breathe into a hot neumann & have slick production & get your name changed & perfect your steez & have expensive sha-nay-nay & gansta nail techs & agents & management & whip-smart promoters that slice quick cuts of beloved cultural icons in your videos on YouTube, you can get really famous pretty damn quick. (btw, I'll take one of all of those k? yay k thanks. Yahhh!!!)
But no one can shortcut to getting their stage chops. You gotta earn 'em over the years like everyone else.
Not sure how that fact got lost, and at SNL to boot. I mean even Britney, who is arguably the most contrived and marketed pop star ever, had been onstage for 10 years straight before she broke out at 16. I just don't understand how anyone could book a singer who's barely ever sang live for the most-watched live weekly broadcast on the continent and expect it to go well. It makes no sense. It's ridiculous. As anyone who has tried will tell you, singing onstage is like being in another dimension. You have to focus on a million different things... time feels different. Lights are in your face blinding the shit out of you. A lot of time you have trouble hearing yourself. People and noises in the crowd are distracting you. You have fellow performers and musicians onstage to be mindful of (rhythm etc). You have aware of your position to make sure you stay in the light, hear your monitor, don't feedback, be aware / control your expressive movements & choreography, watch the mic angle & distance, remember all the lyrics & melodies, breathe in the right places, bring up the energy in the room, figure out a way to evoke emotion and response, and also, make sure your hair doesn't get stuck to your lipgloss (sooo annoying). And I haven't even MENTIONED battling nerves yet. Etc etc etc. It's not the same as recording AT ALL, and it's not easy. You can't just expect someone to be able to do it well right away.
As far as all the hurtful (albeit fairly true) comments online about Lana Del Rey's performance, it's a textbook case of the hype trap. When hype builds, the danger is that makes people very critical. It feels too good to be true, and so people wait for the other shoe to drop. Lo and behold. Are we really surprised? We might be in the digital age but this isn't the Matrix. You can't download skill sets like that.
It reminds me of something really important though, which is the whole reason I'm writing this blog, and that is to take a moment to appreciate the slow climb. Because even though I probably would have denied this even a few years ago, I really think the slow climb to fame has SO many advantages over getting catapulted there overnight. #1 - you get good at shit. I feel that if Sweet Soul ever did get a chance to perform on some high-profile show like SNL, I think by the time we got there we would FUCKING MURDER IT. Ya know? BECAUSE of the slow climb. #2: you have time to get wise to fact that fame is the strange bullshit part and that really, it's just a tool to put more art into the world, which is the real part. I know this might sound like lipservice cuz I'm a performer and it's instinctively in my nature to love attention, but honestly, "being famous" has never been the goal for me. Traveling the world doing what I love is. I guess one facilitates the other in a profession such as mine, but fame could never be an end unto itself.
Just like in the Wizard of Oz (best movie ever) or the Hobbit, the journey is always where the story happens right? How shitty would it be for us if they were like, "...and then we took a helicoptor to Mordor." THIS IS LIFE, right now. I would much rather look around, breathe the fresh air, see the alpine flowers, celebrate the milestones and enjoy the company than hop on a chairlift, race to the top and miss everything (nevermind that chairlifts aren't open in the summer, don't ruin my fucking metaphor). Yeah. So even if it makes me sweaty and gives me leg cramps sometimes, I am grateful for the slow climb.
As for Miss Lana Del Rey, all I can do is wish her strength. I also really hope that she will get back up there, because it's the only way she'll get better at it. I also hope that this doesn't keep her from making more music because I really love her songs.