To put a product like Justin Bieber into perspective it is important to understand someone like Eagle-Eye Cherry.
Eagle-Eye was the son of legendary Jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and artist Monika Cherry. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden (1969) but moved to the United Sates at age 12 to finish school. After graduating high school, he perused a career in acting and in 1993 he even landed a starring role as a thief named Vernon working for the government on a short lived TV show called “South Beach.”
Everything changed for Eagle-Eye in 1995 when tragedy struck and his father passed away. Suddenly his path became apparent to him… he needed to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue a career in music. He put his acting ambitions aside, relocated to Sweden and started writing his first album. All that was in his heart poured out into the music. The wave of inspiration triggered by his father’s death resulted in an entire album worth of music.
“Desireless”, named after a song written by his father in 1973, was released in 1998. The album’s opening track “Save Tonight” was a massive hit. It was 3 minutes and 55 seconds of songwriting perfection. You couldn’t go anywhere in 1998 without hearing that song. “Save Tonight” drove record sales of “Desireless” to over four million copies worldwide.
BUT… the perfect combination of tragedy, talent and inspiration that created “Save Tonight” would never find Eagle-Eye again. He has since released 4 more albums: Living in the Present Future (2000), Sub Rosa (2003), Live and Kicking (2007) and Can’t Get Enough (2012). None of those albums or any of their singles landed anywhere on the US charts. Hopefully he saved some of that “Save Tonight” money for a rainy day.
A long run of inspired and influential music is exceptionally rare. Even Prince who amassed a huge fortune writing and recording numerous hit songs went stale a loooooong time ago. No one talks about any of the music he wrote after 1995. “Pretzelbodylogic” anyone?
Whether you enjoy their music or not… artists who bare their soul for consumption are at the very least authentic and deserve our respect.
Justin Bieber on the other hand is racking up the hits and with no end in sight. Is he is the most inspired human being on the Planet? No… Not even close. He feeds off the talent and inspiration of the gifted songwriters and producers around him. He will live forever because songwriters will beg him to suck their blood dry for a payday.
If Eagle-Eye wrote “Save Tonight” in 2016 he could save himself a whole lot of time and trouble and just let Justin record it and count the money as it rolls in. The Biebs has the looks and singing voice to take a song like “Save Tonight” to number one (although today it would probably have a lame dance beat).
Don’t be fooled if you see a songwriting credit given to the boy wonder. A recent lawsuit over the songwriting credits of the hit song “Blurred Lines” revealed some of the “behind closed doors” deals that are made when hits are being produced.
While under oath, Super-Producer Pharell Williams said the following about the industry: “People are made to look like they have much more authorship in the situation than they actually do. That’s where the embellishment comes in”
Although Robin Thicke has a songwriting credit on “Blurred Lines,” even he admits he didn’t write any part of it. Thicke confessed under oath he was just “lucky enough to be in the room” when Williams wrote the song. Thicke wanted the notoriety and publishing royalties that come with writing a big hit and Williams was happy to hand them over because that’s how the game is played dealing with top selling artists. Beyonce is rumored to do as little at change one world in a song to bully her way into a songwriting credit.
“It’s a bad trend that artists try to muscle for credits on songs they had no part in writing” said Frank Ocean (before he was famous) referring to Beyonce .
At this point there are only 2 things that could derail Justin’s reign at the top…
1. He gets Ugly… if that happens all the most talented songwriters in the world won’t be able to save him.
2. He starts writing all his own music… if he starts to believe he’s a gifted musician and he doesn’t need all the talent he is currently surrounding himself with it’s going to be over fast.
Do you like the way he dances? He hired the best choreographer. Do you like the way he dresses? He hired the best stylists. Do you like his hair? He goes to the best barbers.
The kid is a product and he will live forever sucking the blood of the songwriters that keep him young.