There are 6.6 billion people on Earth today (6,602,224,175 as of July 2007 according to CIA website – google “world population”). And if 0.1% of these people are great singers, you have 6 million people to listen to. But there is no way for everyone to get a chance to hear all of them. In this commercialised world, only the people whom investors feel can generate revenue are being aggressively nurured. To put it bluntly, artistes are like stocks. It’s how the investors hype and sell the ‘product’ that drives up the demand and therefore value.

So I came to know of 2 singers, and I kindda like what I hear and thus wanna share with you here. One is Cheer Chen Chi Chen 陈绮贞, a successful Taiwanese singer-songwriter who writes all her songs. She accompanies her clean girly voice with guitar and her well-written lyrics charmed the Taiwan fans. Her last concert was sold out in only 12 hours. I don’t think the record label has promoted her outside Taiwan yet, for I don’t hear of her locally but only on websites.

Another is Raul Midon, a successful singer-songwriter from New Mexico now based in New York. Great clean voice and style. His album, “State of Mind”, features Stevie Wonder on harmonica, and is selling at clearance price of S$7.95 at HMV (look under the Jazz section), clearly due to lack of interest here.

These 2 artistes (who to me are excellent and talented) are just a pinch of salt of the thousands of successful artistes who are known only within their country – but that’s enough to keep them busy with all the state tours. Sorry this doesn’t work in Singapore, with a population of 4 million and a country where it takes only 40 minutes to get to any corner of the island.

I’m just doing a sanity check for myself, arguably a commercially unsuccessful musician, and for the thousands of fame-wannabes around the region, that even if you are not commercially famous, it doesn’t mean you are not talented. It probably means you are not marketable. An investor would rather put his buck on Talent A who can generate $10 million annual revenue than Talent B who might reap $100,000. So if you meet one investor who doesn’t mind earning just $100,000, you’re on the road to fame.

On the other hand, even if one is famous, it doesn’t mean he/she is talented. I’m sure you have come across entertainers or artistes and you screamed “What’s so great about this person?”. But that’s not how the industry works. It’s not about talent, it’s about revenue. William Hung can’t sing, but you can’t help but watch him make a fool of himself. People are willing to pay to be amused. Don’t bother to condemn him as a person, for he is just a product of investors.

Everyone has his/her worth to someone – your parents, your siblings, your spouse, your children, your employers, your colleagues, your friends, your website readers. No matter how successful or how famous or how unnoticeable you are to the world, at the end of the day, it is what you matter to the ones you care and love that makes you a person worth living for. Famous people committed suicides probably because they realised that their lives are no longer worth it. I live not for my fans or money-spinners, but for my loved ones.

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