Being A Fan Of A Musician? What Does It Mean?
I have a relationship with songwriters as some people have a relationship with God, I worship them, I love them, I talk to them and they don’t answer, but neither does god.
Being a fan of someone may be tougher than you want it to be, some people do it to identify with a larger group, to belong to a community, but I never had this desire. Sure, I visit a few social media fan pages, but I actually despise the idea of belonging to any group.
To me, being a fan has always been a one-sided love affair, even though you have met your hero for a few minutes… Being a fan is a lonely place to be, and what do you do with this unrequited love?
It is a passionate love affair that will make you spend too much money on a ticket, or wait too long in front of a venue to secure a good spot, it’s a consuming love you will never consume even though this is not necessarily that kind of love…
On the other side of this picture, you have the songwriter, who is perhaps looking at the countless Facebook pages, groups, Subreddits and webpages dedicated to his or her persona… When you write a song do you really want this devotion and adoration? Do you do it for these herds of screaming Beatles-fangirl-types? Or do you do it because of your love for songwriting consumes you so much that you have no other choice?
There is a crazy passion on both sides of this relationship, two different kinds of passion but not reciprocal, as the artist is devoured by his art and the fan consumed by the artist.
If there are sets of genes which favor religiosity and addiction as scientists seem to believe, there is very probably a set of genes that predispose you to be a fandom. Like any other behavior, it’s a complex affair, a product of nature and nurture and we do not choose to be a fan of someone… But if culture influences our biology and biology influences our culture, where does this come from? What evolutionary advantages could such a behavior represent?
There’s no doubt that being a successful songwriter gives you plenty of advantages vis-à-vis the other sex, and puts him or her in an advantageous position, even though it was not the artist’s intentional motivation.
But being a fan is rather the opposite, you are alone with your obsession, and this doesn’t give you an advantage. I am not talking about organized fandom which is a completely different animal, as these people set up meet-ups or even conventions, and there is no ending to their socialization and communication, it’s the group effect, the comforting fraternal community, something I tend to reject.
The fan-artist relationship has always been a curious one, a very one-sided love affair, most people solve it by participating in this fandom business which builds its own social network between people sharing the same fixation. As for the fan who is not participating in this, it’s a lonely road filled with the sole exciting anticipation of the next concert.