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Artists Reinventing Themselves

Posted by on July 9, 2013

Snoop Dogg Performing

First there was Madonna, a genre-bending recording artist who in one breath easily morphed from a blond sexpot who tantalized fans in songs “Like a Virgin” into a black-haired debonair woman who exuded class.

It seems artists of today are taking note of her seemingly easy transformation. Miley Cyrus, the innocent girl-next-door who started out in the wholesome Hanna Montana Disney show, is now in a new video frolicking in bed with skimpy clothes, singing about cocaine and ecstasy and singing “We Can’t Stop.” Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg, the godfather of gangster rap artists, is now transformed strictly into a reggae artist.

What gives? Why do recording artists seem to always try to reinvent themselves? Both Cyrus and Snoop had seemingly long-term careers with legions of fans. Why did they feel the need to totally switch up their act?

In Cyrus’s case, it may be about growing up, maturing, or rebelling against her once wholesome image. But is it more about the recording industry’s demands to be more provocative? One would hope that any artist that reinvents themselves does it because they want to, not because record executives are pulling the strings, demanding they change to sell records.

In Snoop Dogg’s case, it seems he is the one pulling the strings. After more than a decade of being one of the top recording artists in rap, he changed his name to Snoop Lion and enlisted dub-step producers like Diplo to help him mix up his music style. But will it sell? The numbers on his newest album seem to be pretty low compared to other albums.

Time will tell whether any of these artists will remain a “big deal.” But it’s interesting that they have a single together. Maybe they can call Madonna for guidance on how to weather the change.

Thanks to NRK P3 for the great picture of Snoop Dogg.

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