The Price of Fame

As a singer, everyone automatically thinks you want to be famous. I have to admit that I would love to do concert arenas and big budget live shows, but that still isn’t about fame, it’s about success in my field. If it happened for me, fame would be the down side. This seems increasingly abnormal, and if I had a quid for every time someone asked why I hadn’t gone in for The X Factor, I’d be a lot closer to a deposit on a house. I try in vain to explain, seeing in their eyes that they think “what a waste – if I could sing, I would use it”. This can be quite hard to take, as I think being in work in this field is a success, especially in a global economic crisis. Of course I wonder about how far I’d get in a competition like The X Factor, but being an actual singer, middle class and without a noteable sob story, my guess is not far. Then if you don’t win, you are forever a loser.

Look at all the people The X Factor ‘breaks’. They’re in the final stages, so they should be really excited and driven, but instead they are crying, shattered and fainting. Not everyone can cope with the pressure of constantly having to prove themselves. It’s exhausting, and then we wonder why celebrities are always checking into rehab for ‘exhaustion’- how hard can their lives be – right?! It is these negative side effects that everyone seems blind to.

You only need to look at Britney, who was a wholesome, driven girl with a bright future, propelled too fast into a world where she didn’t understand the rules and behaving like, well, a teenager! She suddenly didn’t know who to trust and sought attention and approval through any means possible. Her desperation was summed up in her lyric “everybody’s talking all this stuff about me, why can’t they just let me live”.

It’s hard enough being a teenager – the insecurity, the need to be liked, to experiment and fight authority. All Britney was doing was all of these things. Magnified onto the world’s stage though, she just didn’t have the mental capacity to cope. it happens all too often, and looking at the increasing numbers joining the ’27 club’ ( famous people that have died at the age of 27 – Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger and Kurt Cobain being only some of them) it can be the ultimate undoing of great talent.

It is scary then that these days, everyone can experience ‘fame’ in some way. As psychologist Pamela Stevenson argued in her documentary recently, the nearest thing the general public has to fame is Facebook and Twitter.

On one hand, social networking can be a great way to connect with old friends and family, share your holiday snaps and publicise your business. It can be enjoyable in the same way as reading a magazine, but now imagine you’ve been tagged in a photo, your eyes shut, wearing ‘that’ outfit that you only realised was see-through once you were in the club, and you’re talking to that person none of your friends approve of. Panic sets in, doesn’t it. Untag! Untag!

Now imagine that wasn’t Facebook but a magazine. You’d be on the ‘What Are You Wearing!’ page, the country laughing, people wanting you to explain why you were talking to her??? All of a sudden it’s not so fun. Everything is so much bigger… how do you cope?

Ultimately I believe the fame-hungry come under two main categories. The first are those who want to feel great success. The second are those who want to be known; that somehow if everyone knows them, their lives automatically ‘matter’ more.

These people, instead of living their lives, are in on a Saturday night uploading pictures and status updates about how “Crazy! LOL” their lives are, keeping up the appearances of the person they want to portray, then sitting down alone thinking how, in comparison, real life is awful.

Think about why fame would feel good to you, and see if it can be achieved in your real life rather than concentrating on your profile. Think how much time you could free up buy not checking Facebook all day. After all, if everyone thinks you’re busy and out all the time as your uploads suggest, they aren’t going to invite you anywhere.

Lose the Virtual Self and find the Real You again, and the next time you see the media tearing up Britney or Lindsay or Cheryl, remind yourself to be grateful you don’t have to defend yourself to the world, and that other peoples lives aren’t always the party they seem to be.

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About Melanie Macro

Melanie Macro (BA English Lit, Dip Popular Music Performance) is a professional singer and has worked internationally. She works as a performer and teaches privately in her spare time. She learnt confidence and life skills through performance and feels privileged that she can now help others. She has travelled the world and loves to read and learn. Her interests are eclectic; she believes all subjects can be of interest if you keep an open mind.
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