Making a career for yourself is anything but a walk in the park.
So much so that many label becoming a pop star more of a pipe dream than an actual career;
you need a lot of grit and determination to rise above today’s large sea of musical talent. Let’s
just say that becoming a pop star in 2022 is a popular dream!
However, with that being said, many artists have managed to leave their individual mark. These
being those few music artists who have gone against the crowd & turned their genre on its
head. In other words, they’ve been SO outrageous that the industry has been practically forced
to pay attention.
One of the most common occurrences of this ‘alternative’ approach can be found in Pop music.
So here’s just 3 artists who’ve managed to put their own stamp on Pop & in turn, lead the genre
(& Pop sound) in a new, fresh & vibrant direction…
1. Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish is a teenage sensation with her deep-meaning and emotional tracks that are
easy listening and quite melodic. She’s one of the few musicians who’s risen to fame in
the past five years without the help of TikTok.
Billie is the most popular artist amongst GenZ, but now she is slowly paving her way into
the hearts of older generations. Many traditionalists might not call her a pop star, but as
of now, she arguably one of the best. You could even argue that the phrase ‘Alternative
Pop’ is too broad for Billie – her music can be classified as: emotional pop, dark pop, and
teen pop too.
Her dark and emotional approach to Pop when she first started out made her an instant
hit amongst the emo crowd. Although lately, her music has turned more towards
exploring deep emotions and even aspects of mental health + body dysmorphia. So
perhaps you could say that now being in her 20s, Billie has got slightly more serious.
A lesser known fact about her music itself is how it’s produced. Her brother, Finneas
O’Connell, is the brains behind the melodies & composition of most of her recent songs.
Some of her most popular songs at the moment include: Lovely, Bad Guy, Everything I
Want, Ocean Eyes, and Bury a Friend.
2. Twenty-one Pilots
Despite often being mistaken for a band, Twenty-one Pilots are (& always have been) an
American musical duo. One that just like Bille, embody an alternative approach to music more specifically indie/ electro-pop.
Take a listen & you’ll hear that their music often explores essential aspects of life &
focuses on being positive. Arguably what’s made the duo so successful is the meaning
behind their music. Aside from the strong lyrics, edgy synth & slightly groovy beat, their
sound as a whole has a real character to it that makes them truly one of a kind.
Their main spurt of popularity came after the release of their song, Heathens, which was
used as the theme music for the smash hit Warner Borthers motion picture, Suicide
Squad. We can only dream of the sync royalties they received from that!
3. The Weekend
Few music artists can do it like The Weekend. A rapper, singer & auto-tune genius,
who’s famous for his knack of using synths with other elements of Hip Hop, to create
both a modern, yet somewhat retro vibe.
A sound that despite being ‘alternative’, is no stranger to the Billboard Hot 100. You can
easily spot The Weekend by his unique way of singing, which is often enhanced with
autotune or the odd bit of reverb. Something that not only makes his tunes a hit in the
clubs, but also gives his delivery quite the emotional edge.
Many of his songs have a slight jazz or punk edge to them, similar to those of Daft Punk.
Genres of music that today would be also be classed as alternative themselves. And
while The Weekend has had a LOT of hits in his time, some of his most popular are:
Blinding Lights, Starboy, The Hills, Save Your Tears, and Call Out My Name.
And this is exactly why any Pop fanatic should remain open minded. Because while these are
sounds that today we know & love, when they were first conceived (i.e. underground), they too
were regarded as ‘alternative’.
In other words, every great sound was once ‘alternative’. Realise that & you suddenly
understand the importance of being individual. Yes, being the outsider may be the lonely road,
but in terms of turning heads & achieving success in music, it’s pretty much the only way to go.
As an artist you have no other choice. Be ‘alt’… or blend in.