The One & Only Redux
Great turnout for Monique Rhodes at Honey last night.
The group Pearl also played but they brought me back to my original thesis for the this blog - The One & Only: when Pearl played, and they play well, having been performing together since 2003 they are quite slick and have developed a little cabaret of moves and interactions that sometimes worked and sometimes made me cringe. The real problem with Pearl is that they seem to have a music processor working as they perform which turns even well known songs from acts like David Bowie and The Rolling Stones into a cover that sounds like it is being played by a mutation of the Corrs or The Bangles, with a smidge of Wilson Philips. The audience didn't seem to mind. It was a cute, sweet performance, but compared to the raw energy and emotional connection Monique Rhodes made - she made the Van Morrison classic Gloria (G-L-O-R-EYE- A) her own - there was no real comparison.
From my earlier post
I recently read Cowell's autobiography I Don't Mean to be Rude, But...: The Truth About Fame, Fortune and My Life in Music - It reinforced much of my own thinking about brands and connecting with audiences in unconventional ways - being The One & Only. You can't succeed by being Elton John. Obviously - because Elton John already exists. Ironically I recently read an article about Elton John in which his producer said the performer had lost his way artistically and with reduced commercial success by trying to adapt to current musical styles - but had now returned to being Elton John.
And before that:
The risk of truly being yourself and taking the time to understand how you can break free of the conventions of the market is quite a mission. It never ends. The rewards are distinctive products and services that competitors cannot emulate and, if they do, they seem like frauds (and consume their resources trying to be you)..
Honesty and authenticity are highly prized by audiences. Watch American Idol and see how many talented Mariah Carey soundalikes fall by the wayside (there is already a Mariah Carey) - Fantasia Barrino won the last series. She wasn't the prettiest or even the most technically excellent performer in the competition - but she was far and away the most distinctive. That much was obvious from the moment she began singing the Gershwin tune Summertime from Porgy & Bess. " Schhummertime...". One of the undeniable truths of the Idol shows is: that making a warm, human connection with the audience, having a great story is just as important and being able to sing. Doing things well is just what Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi calls 'table stakes'.
Monique Rhodes Site