Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Music Industry pros in Los Angeles still pondering true meaning of the LA Times' royal treatment Monday of a 16-year old Latina rapper, Becky G.; Becky Gomez gets the full works -a front page, lots of carefully-staged photos and a completely sympathetic writer! It reads like it was a record company advertisement, not journalism; @ZaraLarsson_, @CissiNilssonn, @FullOfKeys

Los Angeles Times
Becky G dreams of being the next Jennifer Lopez
The ambitious Latina teen has plans for superstardom, a goal she sings about in her debut, 'Becky From the Block.'
By Reed Johnson
August 19, 2013
At the time, her family had been forced to move into her grandparents' Inglewood garage after losing its Riverside County home. Money was tight. Her dad was stressing out. And her mom was "really scared."
Becky G vividly remembers what she calls "my little mini midlife crisis." It happened seven years ago, when she was 9.
That's when Becky had an epiphany.
"I did have this moment of realization of, 'Oh, my God, what am I going to do with my life?'" she says. "Just feeling like I had to get my act together, even though there was really nothing to put together yet."

This is a slightly-edited version of an email I sent out Monday night to a friend in Europe who is a very smart and savvy music producer and talent manager, whose reaction to this Los Angeles Times article I could well imagine even before I hit "Send."

August 19, 2013
7:55 p.m.

After reading this article above, I think we both know that most discerning people of a certain age, educational background and open-eyed observer of Western pop culture history will be of one mind with you and me on it, and I think we both know, implicitly, something that we can't actually prove empirically.
Why? Well, in my case, I'm smart, pop savvy and have an excellent memory and an even better intuition!
As for you, well, you know those reasons better than me. 

Here's what that intuition tells me today.
That there are tens of thousands of people all over Los Angeles in the entertainment industry who woke-up this morning, opened their front door and grabbed today's LA Times off their porch or lawn and started scanning the headlines as they walked back to their house, condo or apartment, still half-asleep.

Somewhere by the time they got into their kitchen, they'd pulled the plastic bag off and had popped the whole paper open on their table and were scanning and scanning and scanning and then...they stopped when they saw the headline below the fold:"Becky G. dreams of being the next Jennifer Lopez."

At that point, more than a few of them said to themselves, "WTF? Who is this girl and why is SHE getting front page coverage by the Times when there are so many more-talented 
singers out there I know who deserve attention and who've already paid their dues?"

So, this morning, all over LA, people who don't know each other already have something in common: their day started off bad and was only going to get worse once they got behind their steering wheel and within minutes, found themselves in traffic.
And as they wait at the long red light, they think back to the carefully-orchestrated photos which seemed more like they belong on Becky G.'s official website, not a reputable first-class newspaper, and they mutter,"All this for a 16-year old Latina rapper? Really?"

And you know what?
The LA Times could care less about how much this story upsets and antagonizes the real 
professionals within the LA-area recording industry, even if they are subscribers.
The people who are below-the-radar but who are the backbone of the industry: sound engineers, techs, the receptionists at the studios, the A&R types in their shiny glass office buildings with nice views of the mountains, as well as the mountains of newspapers and magazines they get to let them have a Sixth Sense know about the Next Big Thing.

The reason the Times doesn't care what those industry people think about this article is because in their own minds, they're taking the larger, long-term view.

The Times knows that because they orchestrated this with the complete help and cooperation of the record company, complete with two record company "minders" in tow, to prevent her from saying something the record company wouldn't like -a condition which many reputable journalists would NOT accept.

In large part they did so because they consciously want to be known in history as the first major Anglo news media outlet in the U.S. to "discoverGomez for a national audience.

The fact that she's Hispanic helps them ward off the ever-present criticism in LA that the Times 
ignores Hispanics in their pages except when they get arrested or are crooked politicians.

But it's hard to say that you "discovered" someone when they already have roughly 48 separate citations on Univision, the leading Spanish-language TV network in the U.S. -and already have a contract with Cover Girl cosmetics as one of their "faces."

To me, she seems more like a carefully-constructed "Disney" media star than a real singer with something to say, and you know I don't mean that positively:

Then I look at what someone I'm more familiar with, 15-year old Cecilia Nilsson tweets and writes about on her Facebook page in Gavle, and to me, she seems so much more grounded.
A real teenager with her ups and downs, and while ambitious, of course, in her particular case, someone whom you know I personally believe has an amazing talent, and someone that's preternaturally mature musically.
An ability that she's honed and made better thru lots of very hard work and learning from experience.

Andreas Jismark YouTube Channel video: See See (Presentation). Uploaded September 5, 2012. http://youtu.be/0syxcoAblN8

As it happens, this presentation video is in Swedish, but I still think you'll enjoy it as she speaks about herself and her music interests and desire to write songs that are honest and that will connect with people.

It was recorded mostly at her home in Gävle, a very middle-class Swedish city in the best possible sense of the word, and a city that I've written about here on the blog a few times in the past, which has not always had the easiest go of things.

To me, at least, that means that any songs Cecilia writes and sings about will be much more in-tune with the average listener's personal experiences than if she'd been born or raised in
a beautiful place Södermalm, one of my favorite places in all the world, and had affluent parents.

The sort who'd push her around in one of those amazing $800-plus German prams they sell at Nordiska Kompaniet, which I spent some time eye-balling on my last day in Stockholm, surprised that that there was even a little department for them at a store, even one that large, since I'd never seen anything like that in the U.S., not even in Macy's or Nordstrom's.

Cecilia Nilsson - In My Room (Complete Song)

Cecilia Nilsson YouTube Channel: Cecilia Nilsson -In My Room. This is Cecilia's debut single. Uploaded May 13, 2013. http://youtu.be/r3MUHpMTAao Written by Cecilia Nilsson & Andreas Mattsson. Cissi's new single is available on both iTunes and Spotify.

Andreas Jismark YouTube Channel video: Cecilia Nilsson "Never Let You Go" -LIVE at Babar in Tranås, Sweden. April 5, 2013. Uploaded April 6, 2013.

These videos first appeared here on the blog in my May 14, 2013 blog post titled, "On Wednesday you'll be thanking me for introducing you to ANOTHER amazing singer from Sweden: Cecilia Nilsson, a.k.a Cissi or "See See"; Cecilia will sing two songs LIVE on Radio P4 Gavleborg on Friday at 15:30; @CissiNilsson, @andreasjismark, #inmyroom"

Now getting back to Becky G., to me, the LA Times clearly wanted to be the first Anglo media organization to write about this singer -that 99.99% of the U.S. has never heard of- in such an over-the-top way that all future reporters who ever write about anything about her, will reflexively have to read this Times article first, to see what her answers and attitude were like, way back in 2013.
Becky Gomez seems like a nice kid and maybe she's talented.
Or maybe she's not.

Her music isn't my thing and never will be, that's certainly not going to change, but if some people like it, it doesn't bother me, per se, though as you know, I hate rap music, since I like harmony and melody.

But to me, after reading this, what bothers me the most, and what no doubt bothered the vast majority of the people in the music industry I described at the top of this email who also read it, is that it all seems so very contrived.

That Gomez is merely the shiny new face of corporate music trying to find an audience niche amongst the influential and affluent teen market In North America, especially of teenage girls who are perhaps overly-indulged by their well-meaning parents that finds her palatable if not very original.

Not the good part of corporate music, like a certain consistency in the quality of the recording studios or the knowledge and experience of the sound engineers you might work with, or even the quality of the hotels you stay at, but the negative things that we are all in agreement on.

Inline image 1

After reading this article, I thought back to the interview with Full of Keys (Anni Bernhard) 
on Channel 4 early last year -as seen above in a screenshot of my first blog post on her from February 4th, 2012.

I was so impressed by what she said and how sincere she was in saying it.
That is, to the extent that I could fully understand what she was saying and hinting at to the hosts! :)

Still, the reason I sent this article to you today is because this is a great snapshot of a major American media company, which, because it's located in the world's entertainment capital, and has been losing lots of longtime readers, advertisers and money (and fired lots of reporters), is trying quite desperately to be seen as still relevant.

Which is why they were fully-prepared to swallow whole a pre-digested corporate music advertisement and pretend that it was really journalism.

In the late 1970's and most of the '80's, the Times' ad-filled Sunday paper were famous for
their weight, often coming in at well over eight pounds during the pre-holidays, the largest in America in those pre-Internet days.

Back when they had among the best group of foreign correspondents that had ever been assembled, plus really great political and sports columnists who could tell a story in original and compelling ways, which is why so many of them were syndicated nationally in other U.S. papers, like the ones in Miami that I grew-up reading.

Like Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist Jim Murray, whom I read in the Miami News, the afternoon paper that I preferred to the Miami Herald in part because I knew so many of the reporters, columnists and editors who worked there when I was in high school, but spent lots of time there in the Herald building on Biscayne Bay.

I think within a few days, the reader comments at the LAT website will not be quite so friendly and positive about Becky G., with lots of people asking why the editors are putting something so lightweight on their front page that seems to almost be more like an advertisement than a genuine news article.

So with all this in mind, perhaps next week, rather than do some things I already have planned, I should fly off to Stockholm again, except this time, stay at some crazy expensive hotel in Stureplan, rather than the much more reasonably-priced Omena Stockholm on Torsgatan that I stayed at the last five days of my nine-day trip in January.
Then, sometime after lunch, perhaps before going over to Fotografiska, I will suddenly "discover" Zara Larsson
Ha! Ha! Ha!

Yes, the amazing 15-year old dynamo with that powerful voice whom I've only been following for nearly four years or so, and wanted to write about on my blog for years.
I've followed the ups-and-downs of Zara since she was one of the handful of very talented kids profiled on TV4's very compelling Tuesday night documentary series from 2009-2010 that I wrote about here on the blog at the time, "Jag ska bli stjärna (I'll be a star).
Except, of course, Zara's already signed a contract with Sony.

poriel2 YouTube Channel video: Zara Larsson - Uncover - Live on SVT's 'Allsång på Skansen' in Stockholm. June 25, 2013, the first show of the summer. Uploaded on August 2, 2013. http://youtu.be/undi-9G68Hc

Photos: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=632634726760695&set=a.502708629753306.115426.502667543090748&type=1

Zara Larsson - Uncover (Introducing EP / 2013)


Zara Larsson får treårskontrakt i USA,
Svenska popundret ska bli vår nästa superstjärna
(Zara Larsson gets three-year contract in the U.S. 
Swedish pop wonder will be our next superstar)
By Jonna Blessed
May 10, 2013



Anni in New York this summer, new album comes out next month.

Full Of Keys - Snow Glass Apples

@CissiNilssonn - 

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