By Troi Charity
Not everyone will have the chance to live the “rock star” life on tour buses and center stage, so here’s a look into what’s going on in the music industry and what they are not showing you.
Takehiko Kato, Japanese tutor, former GPC student and professional bass guitarist has been in the music industry since 2004 and has performed with popular icons such as B.O.B., Bruno Mars and T.I.
With plenty of time on the road and performing live for massive audiences, Kato believes there is a distinctive disconnect between the performer and the audience.
Audiences, he says, often misinterpret musicians’ lifestyles. “I don’t really want to be caught up in that superficial industry,” Kato said. “The industry can be a money-making machine.”
Kato noted that after talking with people from major record labels he realized that so many people were in the profession for the wrong reason.
“Music is leaning so much towards the entertainment side that you don’t really see the truth of music anymore,” Kato said.
He found that many self- proclaimed professionals knew little about composing music.
“They would look at you, put on some wigs, bleach your teeth, maybe suggest you lose some weight, plastic surgery here and there and then say, I can make a million dollars of you,”
“The message coming from the music industry is just bullshit,” said Kato.
He stated, “the missing ingredient in today’s music is the depth, we don’t really need someone talking about ice this and ‘bling’ ‘bling’ this, we don’t really have to hear that to live through life”
Kato explained that many artists lose their originality and art form just to sell millions.
“Music is supposed to be the expression of individual thoughts and feelings, it might not be accepted by the masses, but it is a pure art form and the most beautiful thing.” said Kato.
He noted that making music is not supposed to be all about making money.
“There are so many things that the audience doesn’t see through a musician’s lifestyle. They only see the amount of time on stage. When we are on the stage, we are shining.”
Kato added that he is frequently approached by people that think that he is living the dream, they think he’s a rockstar.
“We play the music and I might have the long hair, but we are not rockstars,” admitted Kato.
Kato noted that an artists appearance is connected to their popularity, which leads to record sales.
“There are so many artists that came out simple and blunt but then they give number one hits right after they bleached their teeth or have plastic surgery,” Kato stated.
He added, “Music is like fashion, it is not really about the music, a pure form of expression. The meaning of music has changed.”
Kato believes that many people do not understand that those in the industry are normal people.
He said that being a musician is much the same as having a regular job. He compares his life to that of a grocery store worker.
“Instead of working at a grocery store and working nine-to-five shifts, we are at home practicing, we have a lot of work to do off stage.”
Kato referenced John Lennon and Bob Marley as being music revolutionists that impacted his view of music.
He credited these artists for having had strong messages.
“They touched your heart when you listened to them and their music sticks in your head forever,” said Kato.
Kato is currently enjoying working with local artists. He advised students attempting to break into the music industry to stay true to their own sense of style and work ethics.
“We need real music,” said Kato.