This quote from Radio One’s Clara Anfo, taken from a Guardian feature in which various pundits and tastemakers were asked their predictions for 2017, is profoundly depressing.
In pop music, you can have guys and girls who all look amazing and they might have brilliant songs, but if they can’t bring it to life, if they haven’t got the spunk to bring what they’re supposedly trying to sell to interviews, or on the radio or online, I’m not going to be interested.
In her world, there is apparently no room for anyone for whom the most interesting thing about them is the music they make, even if those are the very people who ultimately make the best music. No, it’s all about being the right sort of media celebrity. It doesn’t matter how good your songs are if you don’t have the right back story.
I could say “I must be getting old” at this point, except that this nonsense is nothing new. In 2017, just like every other year, the best music will fly completely under the radar of the media tastemakers and gatekeepers. The “mainstream” has always been clogged up with ephemeral celebrity fluff.
The job of the rest of us is to signal-boost the good stuff so that it can find an audience.