|Walking, or Being Pushed?|
|Thursday, 27 May 2010 18:17|
I was nearly shocked when I accidentally saw the video for the first time. I'm sure you'll have the same reaction. How can a 12-year old boy, from Oklahoma, with only three years of piano lessons, be so freakishly talented? A mindless and bland pop song by Lady Gaga is transformed into something stunningly beautiful. It slowly dawned on me that there was something uncomfortably sexual when an innocent boy, who is about to enter puberty, sings a song about stalking in such a haunting way that it evokes emotion out of people.
At the time of this article, the video had nearly 22,000,000 hits in less than thirty days. To put it in perspective, that's roughly every man, woman and child in Australia watching the video. Chance has gone from a sixth-grade nothing to having conversations with Lady Gaga and performing on The Ellen Show, an internationally-syndicated TV show from the United States. He's been signed for a record contract. It all appears to be so legit. Humble kid with pure talent makes it big. Yet something about it seems, dare I say, manipulated. The youtube performance is a little too good. The video is a little too well-shot. The reaction from the all-girl audience is a little too amazing.
Of course, never in the history of humankind has anything been orchestrated or manipulated, so I might be wrong.
I originally sat down to write a piece for this month's Yareah about musical artists who used walking in their song titles (and thus, metaphorically, pushed themselves to new heights). I realized that while artists go to great lengths to create their art, our society goes to even greater lengths to find (or produce) the next “it”. The story of a nobody going from auspicious beginnings to a somebody is legendary: Cinderella, Aladdin, Moses, Genghis Khan, Rocky, Oprah Winfrey, JK Rowling, Slumdog Millionaire.
The strangely marketed aspect, and the underlying sexuality of a 12-year old with a beautiful voice, brought another thought into my head: the castrato of the early 18th century. Europe was so crazed by them that parents accidentally killed their own children in botched operations to render them the next “it” of the times. The demand for castrato, and the myth of their alleged sexual prowess (which has no basis in reality), lasted for a 100 years. The demand for youth has never stopped.
How far will an artist go to create his work? Even worse, how far will our society go to create him? In our desire to find the next “it”, we've littered the world with the corpses of the young (James Dean, River Phoenix, Jimi Hendrix, Brandon Lee, Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, ad nauseam). I wonder what will happen to Greyson by the time he's old enough to be responsible for himself. I hope he has good parents. His walking has just begun.
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|Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 May 2010 18:38 )|