I’ll clear this up right now: I have not made it in the music industry. In fact, I can quite emphatically say that I haven’t really ‘made it’ in any industry. This is all entirely conjecture, but from what I’ve cynically observed grow and die around me in the world of music, these steps will almost certainly guarantee you global super stardom on the plane of Justin Bieber and One Direction, with batshit crazy fans and the lot.
Make music that was popular 20 years ago
One of the most popular artists around at the moment is the horribly derivative, utterly uninspiring Jake Bugg, aka the Gallagher’s long lost baby brother. His sound is so ostensibly rooted in Britpop that he was practically genetically mutated in a test tube from an old parka and a copy of Parklife. So why is he so popular? Well it’s no surprise to say that music tends to be quite cyclical, and generally by a 20 year increment. Think about it: all of the big industry bosses, the radio heads, the ‘taste-makers’, the guys with the cash, all tend to be closer to 40. They grew up with this music 20 years ago, so when someone comes around again, playing the same chords as Wonderwall, they get all misty eyed and remember their first fondle behind a bike shed and slap a billion pound contract on them. Simple. So you want to be big in the next few years? Take some girl power and add some grunge and you’ll be famous in no time.
Know the right people
The old adage ‘it’s not how good you are, it’s who you know’ is horribly true. If darling daddy has a friend who has a nephew that walks the dogs of the guy that runs all the publicity at EMI, you’re going to have a good time. A cheeky backhander and suddenly you’re top of the pile. Same as gigs: if you’re mates with all of the promoters in your town, you’re gonna get the gigs. Instead, if you just turn up and hand some bored looking bloke that’s too busy swindling DJ’s out of their money and flirting wildly inappropriately with girls who probably shouldn’t be in the venue a demo CD, you don’t have a chance.
Don’t get me wrong, the baying British public seem to love a proper rags to riches tale, as those weepy middle class tears are basically the only thing keeping the dying behemoth that is the of X Factor-y running. But let’s be honest, you know the right people, you can bypass all the bullshit and be laughing all the way to the Radio 1 HQ.
Be really, really ridiculously good looking
It sounds horribly reductive and totally backwards, but sex sells. Zoolander is painfully accurate in its parody of people that are obsessed with body culture and the way people look; all those ‘Hello OK Goodbye Have A Nice Day Time For A Cuppa’ magazines that seem to exist mostly in waiting rooms across the country won’t shut up about the latest celeb and the OHMYGOD SHE LOOKS HIDEOUS WITHOUT MAKE UP ON! LOOK! SHE’S JUST LIKE US! articles and then STILL moan about the British obsession with the way people look. You’re not helping yourself. So, with this in mind, look gorgeous. All the time. You WILL be judged.
Have a USP
I hate to get all jargony, but you need to be able to sell yourself. This also works here if you can’t quite fall into category 3. If you can’t quite look the part of the pop star, act it. Do something a bit crazy every now and then: dress up in bacon (Gaga), cover yourself in black and white facepaint (KISS), smack your girlfriend around a bit (Brown).
Get a regular theme going throughout your stage show and your ‘image’, do something a bit quirky. Be it costumes, light show or just the way you distribute your music – do something a bit leftfield and potentially controversial; you’ll certainly get noticed.
Be careful with this one though: Azaelia Banks’ current business model is to publically slag anyone off that even looks at her the wrong way, and it’s getting a bit old. Once you have the hype, have the sense to stop doing something that could potentially make you a massive dick in the long run.
Be prepared to screw people over
You don’t have friends any more. These empty eyed sacks of skin and bones are merely your slightly lumpy stepping stones to the top of the charts. Be absolutely ruthless, and be prepared to use, abuse and then cut them out of your life at the drop of a hat all for the expansion of your tiny little empire. You’ll make loads more faithful friends when you’re on the front of magazines, promise...
I lied. When you do hit the big time, Don’t. Trust. Anyone. Some people will play you at your own game and sell your soul for their gain too, so watch your back. Also, be careful you don’t piss anyone too important off when you’re clambering over the bodies to the heady heights of stardom. Otherwise that drunken sext of your bollocks suddenly becomes a really bad idea after it hits the front page of Perez Hilton.
Work fucking hard
This is simple enough for anyone, and something that you can all take away from this. Whether you can fulfill one or all of the above points, the main thing is to work damn hard. If you don’t put the effort in, then people don’t care. People won’t listen, and you won’t get heard. With the internet age of contemporary music publication only starting to really gain it’s momentum (yes, people have been using it for years, but still no one has found the right way to do it yet), after all is said and done, the power is (almost) entirely in your hands. If you want it bad enough, earn it. You can do it! I’ve got faith in you!
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be sure to have a starring role on the Daily Mail column of shame and living the high life alongside Cowell, Styles and Swift. And who doesn’t want that?