You can bet my sister grilled me for discussing Jason Mraz again in my post, haha. In addition, she castigated me for mentioning Kina Grannis, the young, Californian pop singer, while describing the music of Elisa, the Italian pop singer. She said I was being a snob and trying to pick a fight with Kina Grannis’ fans, of which I know there are legions. When I told her that I often listen to Kina’s songs, she wouldn’t believe me. I said I have spent more time watching the singer’s videos on Youtube and on Vimeo than I have, listening to Elisa’s songs.
The sister then gave me a mini-quiz to verify my claim. After a while, she asked me if I have heard Kina’s rendition of Fast Car. Of course, the answer was yes. I then told her what I thought of Alejandro, the guy from the Boyce Avenue band who sang the Tracy Chapman song with Kina. She was convinced, finally – I seem to be familiar with Kina’s songs alright. Story was, when Boyce Avenue went to the Philippines, the sister happened to be seated next to the band members, on the flight from Cebu to Manila. She said they were cool and kind, asking her questions about the Jabbawockeez. At any rate, she still wants to whack me for having written about Kina that way, haha.
Lest people think that I am a fat, jealous loser (FJL) who envies Kina Grannis for her talent, beauty and popularity, let me say that is only partly true. Haha, this feels like convincing the traffic officer why I shouldn’t be made to sing the national anthem before the staring public when I did in fact, jaywalk. For one, I ain’t fat. For another, it takes a whole lot to make me jealous. Lastly, me a loser? Why, I’m a blogger! 😉 Neither fat nor jealous and listens attentively to Kina Grannis’ songs – that’s me. Know what? I wish I could be like her. Don’t you? 🙂
Although both artists play pop music, Elisa and Kina sing different songs as they come from different molds. My guess would be that the messages of Elisa’s songs are tough love. Listening to her, one could sense the aches, the difficulties and the struggles as a person tries to grapple with the confusions and the hardships that go with life. On the other hand, Kina’s songs – as seen on MTVs – often have green grass, playful clouds and pretty flowers in them. I think the messages being conveyed are, that love is just around the corner and that dreams do come true. And doesn’t it make a lot of sense for somebody that young? It does.
I’ve met difficult situations and have had my share of hardships and that would perhaps explain why Elisa’s songs strike a chord with me. But just like the next person, I wish and long for sunny days, happy times and love realized. Preferably, with plenty of cheerful music thrown in, haha. Thus, I can understand myself (yes, this self that often lends itself beyond understanding) being drawn to Kina’s songs likewise. And while I am painfully aware that not everybody can be like Kina or Elisa – young talents who sing their way into our hearts and into the world – I am glad that there are a few who can, and do.
And while much can be said about songs being vehicles for propaganda, tools for escapism and there being unequal opportunities for commercialization of talents, I hold that one’s personal choice of songs can be fluid and varied. A person watches, listens to and sings along with the artists whose songs reflect his or her personal sentiments in life. And even as that life may not be as grand, as semi-charmed or as easy or as difficult as portrayed in the music video or, in the artist’s life, it remains one’s choice what kind of music he or she will patronize. I humbly suppose that to a large extent, music is instinctive. In the early stage, our exposure to it is captive, exploratory the next and a little more discriminating, as we trudge farther along.
Thus, a fan or a listener gains knowledge, if not sophistication, in music as he or she is exposed to more and more of it. Methinks a person comes around to it, ultimately. And it is not for me to tell whether one should go for the artist who gives the message and the melody to you hard or soft, as it is for you to believe. Heck, I can barely carry a tune. More often, I only remember the chorus part, dang! But I’m prattling. I said that Elisa’s music is not the Kina Grannis variety, yes. I did not mean that Kina’s music is inferior but only different. Thus, if there is any I have offended, sorry – truly sorry. No intention to bring Kina down or to lift Elisa or myself up. I like Kina and her songs. There.
By the way, here is the Tracy Chapman original rendition of Fast Car. For those unfamiliar, Tracy is a female who looks and sounds like a male (no pun intended). She sings great! She was huge in the music scene from the late 80s to the 90s – singing about the plight of the black, poor and downtrodden people in the modern times. She is still very much around. Hey, this is where my sister and I agree – that Tracy Chapman is one superb singer and songwriter. 🙂
“Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they are yours. “
– Richard Bach