Friday, April 29, 2016

~ New Music Monday ~ May 2nd ~ Fans, Frans, & The Others ~

Insta Ad from several months ago.
Reposting b/c Merle & Willie that's why.

I feel like we have missed so much in our time apart. Sturgill Simpson gave us "A Sailors Guide to Earth", Blake Shelton got all spiritual with "Shadow of My Savior" (super good song, but I am pretty sure EVERYONE was surprised that he released a gospel song), Dierk's has turned out the lights with the release of "Black", Thomas Rett and Nick Jonas taped their episode of Crossroads for CMT, Kip Moore and the Slow Hearts took over the UK (I'm pretty sure they have all been knighted or something after their killer performances) and Beyoncé spilled some "Lemonade". I mean.....folks have been busy and that's just the beginning. It was a wonderful two weeks away doing some road tripping, catching up with a few of my beautiful, generous, kind friends that are more like my family, squeezing some babies, celebrating a wedding, having a few appointments/meetings and just regrouping a little bit. I learned several things in my time away and one was to ALWAYS have my blog/idea notebook with me. You would think I would already know that, but my mindset when packing was do not take "work" with you so you can actually turn off your brain and rest some. Well, notebook or no notebook my brain never rests, or so it would seem. I have all sorts of tunes I wanna share with you. Some I am sure that by the time I post you may have already heard and others maybe not. Before I get into the actual music of #NewMusicMonday I wanted to share some thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind for quite a while now. Let me start with the Webster's Dictionary definition of the word "Fanatic", the word from which we get the word "fan".

"Fan" derived from the word "Fanatic" meaning: marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion <they're fanatic about politics - per Webster's Dictionary Online

Fandom. Fanatics. Fans. Frans (the folks that meet each other and become real life friends due to a mutual admiration, fascination, or obsession for something/someone). 'Frans' is the first set of 'fans' that I want to touch on. One of my besties is a huge fan of a television show. She is such a fan that she went on a cruise themed for this t.v. show. A cruise that ALL its passengers bought tickets for just because it was themed for this t.v. show. She had a wonderful time. Met some of the actors of the show, got to sit in on Q & A's with the shows stars, made new friends who are also faithful "watchers" (see what I did there?!), and the experience only grew her love and loyalty to the program. Fans exists in all genres of art. They even exist in politics. Really just about anybody who is in the public eye is capable of having a "fan base" or groupies.

With the addition of 'New Music Monday' to 'The Faith Journals' and my health inflicted down time I feel as though I have become a tried and true fan of some of my favorite music artists. More so than ever before. Perhaps I feel that way because of social media and the somewhat immediate access one can have to a artist, their work and other fans. The ability to interact fan-to-fan about the music, the writing, the performances, etc. has given artists the opportunity to make a virtual environment that will grow their fan base with deep roots.  I am not the kind of fan that you will find writing about an artists tooshie or arms or if someone looked fat in their dress or whatever. Don't get me wrong, I love me some fashion and will discuss a red carpet look all the live long day, but believe it or not, that is the least of my interests when it comes to music. Imagine that, the way an artist LOOKS is the least of my interest when LISTENING to their music. Makes sense to me, but I am also use to being the only one who thinks like I do. So, if you disagree or roll differently in your criticisms, "that's alright with me.". <---If you don't know what song this is from......we can't be friends. It's like you don't know me at all.

Pic from KipDieHardFans Fan Ran Instagram
(rhyming unintentional, but I love it when it works out)
Kip wrote an excuse for a young
fans to miss school b/c they attended a late performance.

In becoming more active on social media via artists pages as well as fan run pages my eyes have been opened to so many things. Fandom has hit some new lows, but also some new highs. Some of the highs of fandom would be, "Frans". Finding someone who is equally obsessed with whatever you are obsessed with and bonding over it. Bonding so much that your actual life apart from the obsession becomes topics of discussion. Traveling together to support the artists, writer, actor, t.v. show, movie, etc. Staying up late together to get a CD or tickets as soon as they're available. Sharing the heart break of tickets that are too frakin' expensive for real people to purchase them and devising a way to somehow sneak in or catch the show from somewhere inside the venues rafters. I'm not saying I've ever done that, I'm just saying ya know, some people might. The list goes on and on. I am impressed and even moved by the artists that are at the center of this kind of fandom. These artists in my opinion tend to be the personable kind. The "just like us" type of folk. The if I didn't know better I would never know you are "famous", I.E. Willie Nelson. I just read an article, because Willie's birthday was this weekend, about how Willie carries himself with fans. It said that one sure fire way to make Willie angry was to interrupt a conversation he is having with a fan. He decides when he doesn't have time to talk. Not his team. It is this kind of artist that cultivates the 'Fran'. It is a one big happy family kind of vibe.  The kind of fans produced from that kind of nurturing isn't just about who the artist "is",  how they look or how popular their music is at the moment. They are about the art and the craft of the music, how the artists music makes you feel, how their concert allows you a two hour break from real life and with your favorite people none the less. You see these fans/frans not only posting their concert road trip shenanigans, but also about how the lyrics, performance, etc. has moved them emotionally, personally, etc. ya know?! In a real life way.

Maren Morris performs "My Church" fr "Hero"
on GMA April 2016
I love 'Frans'!!! I have been so touched at seeing how some of them keep up with one another even if they only see each other once a year or whenever at an annual show. I love the fan run sites that interact with the 'frans' regularly. They answer questions or pursue information that the average fan isn't able too. It is a real community and isn't that what most folks are looking for? A place to fit in?! A place where others feel passionately about the same things? Now, not all fan sites are equal so, I would warn you and encourage you to be aware, research through past posts, etc. to be sure you are dealing with a legit person doing legit fan "work" for an artist. Some folks create "fan" pages just to be tools and I'll get to them later. Back to the 'frans', I like to think that this week I made a few virtual 'frans' through my following of Kip Moore and The Slow Hearts on their UK leg of the Wild Ones tour as well as from following Maren Morris' performance on GMA and appearances in NYC, all via social media. Once again, the FOMO was real, but thanks to the wonderful, yet sometimes ridiculous, invention of the internet I had the opportunity to feel like I wasn't missing out so much. Some fans live streamed from the concerts, some posted you tube videos from the now "epic" post show, alley way, acoustic performances through the streets of Dublin by Kip, pictures of course and concert reviews by online magazines, UK Radio, etc. Maren did a live stream Q & A from Facebook head quarters that was amazing and really gave the fans a glance into her personality. She also posted her performance from GMA to her fb later that day. I have to say, it was beautiful. In that kind of setting, that early in the morning with that kind of time limit a lot of artists get nervous and it shows with overly pitchy or flat vocals. Maren was on point from the first note. It was an amazing performance!!! You need to check it out if you haven't seen it yet, click the above link to watch.

 I had once suffered from a commenting phobia. IDK that's a real thing, but I vote we can say that it is. I'll explain my fear with my next type of 'fan'. Anyway, I HAD to overcome my commenting fears or suffer forever from FOMO, and now that I have concurred that fear, I feel like I've met a few really cool 'frans'. We now follow one another on insta and have shared some back and forth on our love for the out of this world music of The Slow Hearts and my jealousy of their getting to experience this UK tour live. This is just a example of one place 'frans' exist. A lot of artists have fan run social media pages like Miranda, Kip, Dierks, Cam, etc. where fans share their stories, excitement, and just chat back and forth about music in general. It is really cool to see, but then.....BUT THEN...........
There is this other kind of "fan". They aren't a real fan and they are the kind of person that gives fandom a horrible name. These are the folks that make it difficult for true fans to feel that they can communicate with one another, artists, etc. with out being tagged as "crazy" or a "troll" themselves. These "trolls" disguise themselves as a fan, and truth be told they are jealous haters. I get that Wiki is a some what debatable source, but I think they hit this one on the head.

"In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion,[3] often for their own amusement." - Wikipedia

Pic fr Wikipedia
I have seen the "troll" in its virtual environment make fake accounts of people who have access to an artist. They make fake accounts of just random people who have zero association with an artist and post completely inappropriate comments on all variety of social media. They attack true fans by going through their social media postings, reposting or retweeting them, taking their pics and making mean comments, they have even gone as far as to take a fans page, use their pics and create a fake fan accounts in attempts to confuse and mislead. I REPEAT, it is these folks that give fandom a bad name. It is these folks that kept me and I am CONFIDENT keep others from feeling like they can interact via social media with an artist or other fans. It took me contacting a fan run social media page about one of these fake accounts and learning that it is something they've been dealing with for awhile for me to feel comfortable posting comments, liking, etc. on artists and other fans pages. I found myself telling that fan to not let these haters get them down or keep them from doing what they love in support of an artist they respect. In typing it all out I felt like I may have needed to read it just as much as they might have. I am NOT gonna let a hater troll keep me from sharing my love of music, movies, art, etc. with other fans. I am NOT gonna let a hater troll keep me from supporting or encouraging artists whose work I believe in. I am NOT gonna let a hater troll bully, harass, or stalk a fellow fan if I can at all help it.

It is unrealistic to virtually exterminate all the trolls. But if you spend any amount of time online you can be wise in learning "troll" vocabulary and habits so that you do not fall prey to their attempts at starting a virtual war. True fans are about the tunes. True fans are NOT competitive with one another. True fans are about the artist. True fans are not exclusive. True fans support ANYTHING that promotes the artist, music, acting, writing, etc. in a positive way. True fans do NOT hate on one another. True fans do NOT spread hate or gossip about an artist, the people they surround themselves with or their work. Please note that in the above definition by Webster's of "fan" it includes the words "uncritical devotion". UNCRITICAL. While this is just some blog post from some blog and some fan and it probably will not reach the people it needs to (not that trolls are logical or reasonable to begin with), I feel it is my responsibility as a true fan to share these thoughts of mine. It is my responsibility as on online presence to possibly encourage other fans who have similar fears as I did when it comes to virtual communication and support of an artist. It is my responsibility as, ya know.....a human, to say bullying in any of its forms, virtual or otherwise, is NOT acceptable. It is my responsibility to let the trolls know that if they continue to post hateful, untruthful, slanderous comments on my social media they will ALWAYS be deleted, reported (to the social media admin as well as to the artist) and blocked ASAP. My blog and my other social media pages are non-hater zones. That is in general much less when I am posting about an artist, music, book or movie. Don't get it twisted, we can disagree on preferences, but you can not spew slander or assassinate someone's character via my pages.
Screen Grab fr
Taylor Swifts Insta
Lastly, in this longer than I planned post to fans and frans, I wanna encourage you and remind you that you have power. When a fan calls into a radio station to make a request or vote on a countdown it makes a difference for that artist. When a fran votes online for video countdowns, it makes a difference, not just for the artist, but for the director, co-stars, etc. Some songs do not get off the ground until people see the video. You never know what it is that is gonna get and keep a listener/video watchers attention. The above is a screen grab from Taylor Swifts instagram. Now, it is months old, but I was waiting for the proper post to share it. Y'all know it took me a second to get on the TayTay Train, but I am on it and may be an official conductor at this point. And honestly, hand over heart, girl scouts honor, right after I "followed" Tay on Insta she hit her 60 mil mark and sent out this thank you insta. I am not saying I alone am the follow that sent the counter to 60 mil, but I sure did help. You, little ol' you, have POWER!!!! Be a fan that not only listens to the music, but participates in it by voting, sharing, following, etc. You never know when your presence may be the very presence to get a song, band, artist, etc. to their next goal.
With that in mind, keep calling in, snail mailing, tweeting, texting, instagramming, and fb-ing your radio and video requests to local stations and online. Follow the hosts of the countdowns on social media, send a thank you tweet or fb post to the stations that play your requests, post a insta shout out of your car radio to the station that randomly, with out request, played your favorite tune. I have programed local radio stations into my cell so that when I am in line somewhere or stuck in traffic or am riding shot gun I can call in a request. I follow my local radio stations and the national video channels on social media so that I don't miss out on special events they host. I.E. Cam at WIVK fund raiser a few months back, it was fb live streamed and I didn't have to miss a minute just because I was sick. Really and truly social media communication can be a wonderful thing. It doesn't have to be ridiculous or annoying. It's all up to us, the users, the communicators, the posters, the tweeters....ahahaha tweeters, anyway, it's up to you!!!

GAC Top 20 Countdown w Nan Kelley - Vote HERE

For past #NewMusicMonday posts or other Faith Journal Posts feel free to scroll through the archive or type a key word into the blog pages search board. Also, feel free to PM me with any questions you may have or to share an artist you think the world needs to hear about. Follow me on Instagram @StacieTennessee for updates, random FYI's, sale alerts and just general fun.

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