The Stereotypical Evolution of a Folk-Singer

22 Jan

two guitars

To get really specific: a Female Singer-Songwriter from the 80’s/90’s.

– Make a really angry, unsure, shaky album with too much reverb and perhaps out of tune instruments that shows promise and gains a group of college-aged hipster fans. Perhaps recorded outside or in a basement.

– Make better album that is actually called the debut because first album was just a demo made in a basement/outside. Release to wild acclaim. Next big thing! Next Joni! Next Ani! Next Joan Baez crossed with PJ Harvey!

– Sophomore slump. Not as good as first. What happened?

– Third album. Growth shown. Maturity rising. “Solid effort,” says some reviewer.

– Fourth album – Sixth albums. Continue rise to maturity, write about big life events like that one long term relationship. Maybe have children and write about how happiness did not exist until children. And/or get really good about writing about loneliness. Wear hats. (“Holiday” album may appear in this time period but does not count toward total album count*).

– Seventh + Eighth albums. Decide the world is not all about “me, myself, I” and start writing “modern protest songs.” Stop caring about rhyming so much, to the point that some lines are just complete sentences sung over music. Incorporate jazz chord progressions as well as African and other “world beat” influences because folk songs are so 1995. Wear colorful hats.

– Eighth+ album. Return to roots with a “rootsy Americana album”, proudly making it a big deal without decrying decision to “go global and political” for the last two. Join Americana Association. Give keynote address somewhere about how business has changed. Embrace natural hair color. Ditch hats. Duet with old rock stars. Move to mountains/farm/cabin from LA/NYC/Austin.

*Thank you Nancy Jane.

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