I’m quite jealous of M. Ward.
You can visit the link to see how sickeningly prolific and successful he has been. The guy has churned out nine albums in ten years, five of which are excellent. His most-recent solo album, Hold Time, is my album of the year. He’s an astonishing guitarist, superb vocalist and a surprisingly insightful lyricist and writer. He also seems to be a rather nice guy. Some people have one area that they excel in; M. Ward has several. Why be jealous of a talented musician? He’ll be my age in October.
It must be wonderful to be M Ward. One could look back at a body of work that has actually improved. To have evidence of having so much ability that one can siphon off some of it with side projects such as She & Him and Monsters of Folk. I’m listening to Post War right now, and the richness of the production and quality of the playing has me mesmerised. Like most kids, I once harboured fantasies of being a pop star and having such an impact on people through their headphones. Alas, I had little musical ability or opportunity, but the music bug is served in a little way through making mixes. Having people tell me that they danced to them in the Dallas, Mexico or Dublin still amazes and delights me. It’s a great feeling to put stuff out there and get a reaction.
Earlier this week, a young man from Dublin called Tom O’C uploaded a self-made track called Entrepreneur to YouTube. Very quickly, his video became the most viewed video in Ireland and was making waves across the globe. Tom O’C went viral.
For all the wrong reasons.
He has since pulled the video, but before doing so, he had elicited a maelstrom of criticism and ridicule. Don’t get me wrong, the track is very poor (If the clumsy use of Autotune – itself nearing the end of it’s shelf life – does his voice no favours, the faintly silly gangsta posturing is just too much for viewers to pass up). Anyone who creates and shares is fair game for critique – and some of that can be sharp/bitchy and funny – but the vitriol that this relatively harmless individual has fielded is just ugly.
Tom O’C is a bit silly, but that’s not a particularly awful thing. He’s doing his creative thing and at least he’s putting it out there. He has a lot of skills to acquire -bluster and swagger are very difficult attributes to pull off charismatically. Ditch the Autotune (surprisingly, it actually sounds like you might have a reasonably decent voice underneath all of that gimmickry).
It’s probably a very good thing that M. Ward didn’t have the tools or means to make such an immediate impact as Tom O’C. The accomplished, assured craftsmanship we hear now is the product of years of practice and learning. I have no doubt that there are thousands of equally talented artists uploading their early works to YouTube as we speak. Tom O’C probably isn’t one of these, but he’s young and I’m hoping that this whole nasty business doesn’t crush him.
UPDATE: Seems like it’s not really by Tom O’Connor at all. Apparently someone (“maybe a competitor”) grabbed some of this guys pics from O’Connor’s Facebook and Bebo profiles and autotuned a track by amateur Irish rapper Dizzy D. The plot thickens.