Street Credibility (and how “real” artists want to steal it from you)

Posted: July 29, 2009 in 1, busking
Tags: , , , , ,

If there is one thing al lot of artists want, it’s street credibility. Thanks to producers, songwriters, studio musicians, lip-sync and make-up artists, you don’t really need talent or be able to sing in key to become a superstar. But street credibility is one of those metaphysical qualities you just can’t put your finger on.

Buskers have tons of street credibility, they live and breath (and sometimes eat) the street! Showbizz-artists are quite jealous of this and so they steal their looks and behaviour from buskers. Remember the 90’s when every rock band started playing unplugged and thought they were buskers while selling millions of albums with acoustic covers of their own songs?

Rich and famous as they all may be, they wanna busk.
But they do it wrong…

Street credibility is not about drive-by-shooting another millionaire rapper from your limo because he dissed you in a song nobody can decipher the lyrics to anyway.

Nor is it dropping tv-sets from a five star hotel, when your tour manager paid up-front for the damage you make. (Most contracts stipulate a minimum of 5 tv’s per tour)
It isn’t flashing your genital or nipple area in front of paparazzi while leaving an exclusive club.

No, street credibility is… well like I said, it’s difficult to explain, but being a busker you know what I’m trying to say here.

Some artist have noticed this and start busking too. Check out Roisin Murphy (of Moloko fame).

What makes this not quite real busking, but a nice attempt is:

– buskers don’t bring a whole band
– buskers don’t bring a  BBC camera crew (it was broadcasted later)
Here’s another one by James Morrison busking for charity.

Yeah, the boy’s got talent but…

– buskers don’t bring mics and speakers that cost more than they make with busking for a year
– buskers don’t have press photographers lurking around

It mostly comes down to this, if an artist really wants to feel what it is like to be a genuine busker and gain the street credibility that comes with it, do it anonymous. Don’t warn your fans through your website and don’t bring the press.

When you know the feeling of being passed by uninterested people, when nobody applaudes after a song, when you really have to live from the coins in your guitar case, then you have busked. Then you’ve got street credibility.

That said, the short following clip features none-other then Paul McCartney doing exactly what I described (except I don’t think he really needs the money).

And here’s Bruce Springsteen in an unannounced guerilla street performance. Since he started out as a busker once, he doesn’t count as a busker-wannabe. He’s still got all the street cred he needs.

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