Monday, 24 January 2011

Why It's OK To Be Brit

The BRIT’s Performing Arts & Technology School, set up by the record industry in Croydon at the beginning of the 1990s has often been the subject of negativity from indie snobs. It’s easy to look down your nose at the college that has tutored the likes of Amy Winehouse, Katie Melua, Spark, the frontman of The Kooks, Katy B and worst of all the dreaded Dane Bowers. Who can forget the highly embarrassing interview that Simon Amstell carried out with two of The Kooks a few years ago where the band tried to initially deny their BRIT ‘stage school’ education? Indie credibility was seemingly something the band were conscious of, but their denial ultimately made them appear shallow and false. The perception of BRIT School by many has been that it is some sort of ‘kids from fame’ academy and has nothing to do with making great art. It’s easy to believe that those who attend are not far removed from the world of Simon Cowell led X-Factor hopefuls – desperate for fame at any price – selling their soul to the devil over their art. Other criticisms are that stars cannot be ‘taught’ but are ‘born’ and that attempts by BRIT to groom and manufacture pop stars is contrived and not authentic.

Yet last week Adele’s new single Rolling In The Deep was released in the UK. It went straight into the charts at no.2 and has been widely acclaimed by both pop writers and rock reviewers. There are very few claims that Adele is not ‘for real’ or that the song is ‘manufactured’ and yet Adele is a product of BRIT School.

There’s a very simple reason why nobody is taking shots at Rolling In The Deep - because it’s is a great song performed with real guts and soul – a raw gospel pop tune that gets better with every listen. So right now nobody except the harshest cynic cares if Adele came from BRIT or not. For all those concepts that so called music lovers get so wrapped up in – if an artist is ‘for real’, whether they have ‘integrity’ and how ‘manufactured’ can be thrown out of the window – because this time it seems that, maybe because this is Adele's second album, all that counts is the music.

And maybe, just maybe, because of BRIT Adele will earn some money from her art; whereas in the past pop stars may have had talent, they were often terribly naïve or unwilling to engage in the business side of the music industry (it’s called an industry for a reason) and ended up getting ripped off. BRIT teaches artists skills they need to survive and earn a living from their talent. Of course, there will always be an argument that great art and commerce don’t mix, that it isn’t in the spirit of punk or rock ‘n’ roll – but maybe if BRIT gives the artists that come out of it the skills and knowledge to survive in the business they won’t have to end up advertising butter on TV adverts like a certain Johnny Rotten did.

Back in November 2010 we featured a new act – Rizzle Kicks. This Brighton based duo make hooky, sample filled hip-hop not far removed from the likes of De La Soul. We really like what they do – yet once again they’re BRIT alumni. Their sound is witty, fun and just a little cheeky. We can’t imagine that they’ve been groomed or manufactured artistically in any way – Rizzle Kicks are, we’re absolutely sure, doing exactly what they want to do.

You can catch their video in our previous post about them here, and listen to both the brilliantly scampish Down With The Trumpets and Miss Cigarette below. Rather like Adele they’re another reason why it’s 100% ok to be BRIT. It's not where you're from, it's where you're at.

Down With The Trumpets by Rizzle Kicks

Miss Cigarette by Rizzle Kicks


Anonymous said...

Yes a good point, I'd been thinking along these lines myself, there are some strange ideas flying about. The Kooks would be dire if they went to Brit School or were born playing their guitars :) Again as we discussed with the 'Sound Of' list. it's that problem with perception.

I mean were does it stop? Is somebody who had years of guitar lessons considered not 'real.' Does the fact that a singer has had a comfortable middle class up bringing preclude her/him from expressing perfectly valid feelings of angst through music ?

'Real' means many things to many people and can be a much misused and misunderstood word. For me it means being emotionally engaged and having an artistic input into what you produce.

The other little backlash I see building is this tendency to label some young bands as 'poshos'. I mean really, that sort of inverse snobbery is just plain silly. If the music comes from a good place and you find it aesthetically pleasing who cares if they went to Brit school or not.

Nice article anyway! Cheers, Andy

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

Yes I've seen some negativity towards The Vaccines because of their perceived upbringing. As you say silly.

Now where's my Dane Bowers record :)
(Irony doesn't really work on the internet does it.....)

Anonymous said...

Pozdrowienia z Warszawy!

Anonymous said...

Down with the trumpets not there anymore ???

Breaking More Waves Blog said...

No the version that was posted here was the demo version and has been replaced by a newer version which you can find here