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Grimes Complains About Celebrity Culture And The Music Business

Grimes
Grimes’s last IG post

“Celebrity culture is suffocating a f. I’m not quitting music, but def changing my main day job after BOOK 1. Music industry feels old and tired, reliant on archaic systems,” Grimes tweeted today. This obviously triggered a lot of reactions, but, to me, it’s quite ironic that Grimes is complaining about celebrity culture when she has participated in this circus herself since the beginning of her career. First, she made a baby with the richest man on the planet and made her pregnancy very public on social media and about everywhere, then her Instagram page is a world of dream-like fantasy where she is posing as an alien-elve-meets-game-of-throne creature, a series of selfies of sci-fi fantasy feeding the reverie of her 2.2 M followers. Didn’t she post a photo of herself on Instagram today, showing once again her naked belly with a suspicious baby bump? Either she is really pregnant again and she chose to announce this intimate and very personal news on social media, or this is photoshopped and her fake pregnancy is just a way to announce another art project. In any case, she is using her body for publicity, and she doesn’t have to do that. She is fully participating in the system that she is criticizing, feeding this celebrity cult she is complaining about.  I am aware that any music today needs a certain aesthetic, but Grimes cultivates this to some rare extreme.

In 2021, do artists really need all this decorum to be as successful as Grimes? If their music is truly good, do they really need this fake imagery of make-believe life that they all post on social media? Taylor Swift’s page is also meticulously built: no final fantasy stuff over there, we are rather navigating in light romanticism, with long walks in the woods or runs on the beach, cute cats, female friendship (a lot of it) and poses with famous songwriters from McCartney to Carole King. Take any successful artists today and you will find a carefully crafted aesthetic on their IG that becomes almost more important than the music itself.

In an interview with the LA Times in 2004, Joni Mitchell was already complaining about the music business: “I heard someone from the music business saying they are no longer looking for talent, they want people with a certain look at a willingness to cooperate. I thought that’s interesting because I believe a total unwillingness to co-operate is what is necessary to be an artist – not for perverse reasons but to protect your vision. The considerations of a corporation, especially now, have nothing to do with art or music, that’s why I spend my time now painting”

“They want people with a certain look” … this has never been truer, but there is no reason for people like Grimes to cooperate with the system. Doesn’t she have all the money in the world? She is very successful and married 280-billion-man Elon Musk. In her tweet, she is lamenting about celebrity culture and the music business, whereas, she has all the means to solve both problems: if her music is good, it doesn’t need another baby bump to sell and there’s no need for her to participate to this celebrity culture. At the same time, she can afford to do whatever she wants: create her own label, buy a music company, reinvent the entire system… Grimes is the last person who should complain about anything.

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