Monday, November 1, 2010

Notice me, dammit

Alexa Ray Joel, daughter of Billy Joel, has a new song out. Well, newish. New to me because I'm oblivious to pop culture. (Hat tip @Robyn S.)

My first reaction: Awww, cute. Not really my favorite genre of music, but she does a good job selling it.

My second reaction: Geez, I wish my dad were a famous musician guy so I could get instant exposure for my music. Must be nice.

Then I stumbled on Alexa Ray Joel's blog and read this:
I’ve decided to NEVER google myself again- EVER!! Those bloggers are just way too hostile and cruel on there- OUCH!!!! I can’t help but wonder: “why do they feel so much hatred towards me?”, “why do they want to believe I’m just some trust-fund baby with no voice or talent of my own?”, “why do they feel the need to call me ‘homely’” and constantly compare me to my mother’s looks, when I have a completely different look and vibe than her?. I hope one day they realize that I do NOT use my parent’s connections AT ALL, and that I got the ‘Prell-Gig’ completely on my own, and I’m making this record on my own terms without “Daddy’s Help”. And that I am a real and genuine girl who wouldn’t want to hurt a fly, I just want to spread kindness, authenticity, and good music…. hey, and I have feelings too!!
I have no problem believing that ARJ didn't ask either of her famous parents to make calls and open doors for her. On the other hand, having the name Alexa Ray Joel probably helped her get noticed. She might not have risen to the top of a pile containing thousands of submissions if she'd used the name Edith Hinkleman.

That's not a criticism, mind you. It doesn't mean she's less deserving than others trying to make it in her genre. She's obviously got talent. She's just not necessarily more deserving than others with talent. And as someone in a band that's fighting for recognition—any recognition—it's hard not to feel a little envious.

Which leads to an interesting question. Would you rather languish in obscurity with little hope of breaking out? Or would you rather everybody assume that you only achieved fame because you have famous parents?


Jeff Shattuck said...

In her defense, she has a cool voice, the song is good and she's good looking. Still, I wish she would at least acknowledge that her dad may have helped a bit. Where's the harm? She's lucky, she should admit it.

John Wenger said...

But you could have gotten instant exposure to your mathematics if you had been a mathematician. Oh, wait, that doesn't work.

On a related note, you absolutely have to watch this:

Sue Jackson said...

She's got a pretty nice voice (with a unique sound) but I don't love the song...then again, it IS stuck in my head now...

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Alexa Ray, just because I've watched her grow up. I've always liked Billy Joel's music, and his lullaby to her is a favorite at our house. We used to sing it to our sons at bedtime.

No, it;s probably not fair that her name alone gets her in the door, but she has always seemed like a cool girl to me - her own girl, you know?

I didn't know you were in a band - what do you play?


cinderkeys said...

Jeff: She is lucky. I'm sure people have been telling her that all her life. Still, she's obviously worked hard to hone her skills -- having Billy Joel as your dad doesn't exempt you from having to do that. After putting in the hours to become a good musician and songwriter, being told how lucky you are has to get old after a while.

Dad: You didn't pass on the math gene, so moot point. :)

Sue: Yep, I'm in a band called Cinder Bridge (same name as this blog). We have a song about living with undiagnosed ME ("Everybody Knows About Me," which you can find on the top of the sidebar), and Rachel Groves did the cover art for it. I believe she's our degree of separation.

Anonymous said...

Famous Dad only makes me dislike her more. But our culture seems to reward those with no skills and even nearly no personality or intelligence. Just get "famous" somehow, get on TV, and get rich, and you're set for life.

Sick of it. How about get a real job, grind it out for years under a real prick for a boss, and live like the rest of us? Then I'll respect you. Notice you? Nah. Sorry.

Don said...

The idea that she didn't get any benefit from daddy's name is absurd. Of course she did! I just saw where Chelsea Clinton also said she has never used her connection to dad (or mom) to her advantage. But she also charges $75,000 for a 40-minute speech. I don't think many economics grads in their 20's make anything close to that. The family name does have some value.