Sunday, August 25, 2013

On Being "Tawdry" and "Offputting"...


I got a review once from The Daily Vault that resulted in an A- (not too shabby). To this day, I think the reviewer was the only one who really got me musically, and I was SO happy and relieved about that, even though my brother wasn't as appreciative of what was said about the production of GATA City. (TBH, I don't think it sounded as "homegrown" as we were told in the article.) I think this will be remedied in future projects; but we've heard quite a few favourable comments from others (including, but not limited to people in radio) about the production, so I just chalk it up to "this shxt ain't for everybody". I mean, considering what passes for "the sound" nowadays... if this is what is considered "chique", then, I'll stay sounding "homespun", thank you very much, LOL.
The review also said this:

An integral part of [Tha]Gata Negrra’s image is her weirdness, which can seem a bit tawdry and offputting. Her music, however, is anything but. Gata Negrra might like to be... an anime character that wears gaudy clothes and makeup, but GATA City is an ordinary mainstream pop album – an enjoyable and a great mainstream pop album.
Huh. Okay.
I'm guessing the reviewer has never been to Japan. Or watched an anime. I could be wrong.
At the time, I wasn't quite offended; I've been getting that "OMG whatthehellisthat" reaction all my life, so it isn't new to me. I did bristle a bit at "tawdry" and "gaudy", which are usually pretty negative words:

taw·dry- adjective \ˈtȯ-drē, ˈtä-\ : cheap and gaudy in appearance or quality; also : ignoble <a tawdry attempt to smear his opponent> noun: cheap showy finery


gau·dy-  adjective \ˈgȯ-dē, ˈgä-\
1: ostentatiously or tastelessly ornamented
2: marked by extravagance or sometimes tasteless showiness : outlandish <gaudy lies> <gaudy claims>;
also :exceptional <a gaudy batting average>

Note that "gaudy" is actually used as a synonym for "tawdry".
Those words are just more shorthand for "We don't get it". Or, "We can't wrap our eyes around it. It's too much."
Okay. I'll buy that for a dollar. Like I said: it's nada new.
I was talking with someone I know who works for a prominent indie label and, in general, likes my look/brand, and he likened me to a fire hose...in that, when the audience comes to drink, instead of giving them a water fountain trickle, I visually give them a faceful of high-jet water. I thought it was funny, actually. And not por nada: it's kind of the point.
The odd bit is that this guy, who I respect and admire immensely and love him to death, actually suggested that I strip down--like a LOT--and give you guys the full-jet later (and yet, he loves and promotes people like Kerli, Lady Gaga, and Nicki Minaj and Madonna). I didn't immediately object--I mean, this guy is who he is for a reason-- but it would be, I dunno, untrue to me. I don't like giving people the untruth. I want to give you the full truth. I don't mean truth as in shedding all of the clothes and barrettes and adornments. Those are just amplification. I mean, if everyone wanted truth, we'd all be running around naked, no?
I mean full truth as in giving you the whole ThaGataNegrra experience. And that is what people come to see me for. You didn't come to see me sans synthlox extensions, sans clothes, sans the..."explosive" version of me. You didn't come to see me be "normal". You weren't attracted to me because I'm freaking "normal".

You came because you saw me flying my freak flag, didn't you?

You came because you saw that it isn't some chyck making play she's so unusual (yes, that is indeed an intentional Cyndi Lauper reference) like some artists you might see out there...you saw that it is coming from a place where genuine "weirdness" is rampant. You've either visited that place or wanted to visit that place, or wanted to know what that place looked like before you went there.
That's what I represent.
And if I came to you with my natural coily hair as it is now, in blue jeans and a fxcking plain black t-shirt and tried to sell you the Meowness, you. Would. Not. Buy it. Period.

I will say that when I was younger, all the way up to where I am now, I have expressed myself differently than that of my peers, even if I had on the same outfit (or elements of the same outfit), I must have carried it differently than they. I've seen people look at old pics of me and say, "You didn't look weird at all!" No, not to them in the picture. But, if you were walking down street with me at the time it was taken, in that outfit, you'd have heard a whole bunch of taunts thrown at me. I never got that. Still don't. But it is what it is.
Back then, it was: "THIS bxtch..." now it's: "THIS bxtch is walking through the supermarket with ma-fxckin' CAT ears on."
I do that because it's true for me now. That--walking through the supermarket with ma-fxckin' cat ears on-- is. MY. TRUTH. And I would be less than respectful of me-- of you, even-- if I didn't do that.
I just took a course that advised the very thing that I am already doing. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this. And I'm proud of the fact that I've already got "it". One less thing for me to learn.

I was recently reminded that for some reason Cyndi Lauper was a big influence on me. That I loved the look that Prince and all his proteges touted in the Revolution and New Power Generation eras. That it was all about shell-toe Adidas. That I wanted violet and white hair. That I had an affinity for and with cats. That I used to want to be like the characters from Battle of the Planets/Gatchaman. That I was a lot like Yuri from The Dirty Pair (Adam Warren version). That I once got teased for looking like "a reject from the X-Men" (which I thought was so funny...).
It certainly explains a lot about me.

If you notice the last part of the definition for gaudy, it says: "exceptional".
"EX-CEP-TION-AL".

ex·cep·tion·al (ikˈsepSHənəl)adj.
1. Being an exception; uncommon.
2. Well above average; extraordinary: an exceptional memory.
3. Deviating widely from a norm.

I can take that.

So, when I got the link to the review from The Daily Vault, it was accompanied by an email from the writer. In it, he expressed the fact that he loved what I was doing, to keep up the good work, and signed it, "Your fan from Canada".

In the end...still expressed being a fan. I was humbled.

That is what being true to who you are can get you. It takes longer, but it's worth it.

2 comments:

Justin Douglas said...

I came for the cookies and cake! - Justin "MisfitX" Douglas

ThaGataNegrra-- Tha TRUE ORIGINAL GATA said...

Ha! Well, good thing I make them from scratch, LOL... <3