I found a conversation from the Gavin DeGraw Facebook-page concerning the new single Fire. It concerned the change that has been going through Gavin’s musical style and whether that is a bad or a good thing. This conversation was interesting to me and in the same time it made me think. A lot. It was about being a blind fan.
The whole conversation can be found here, so just CLICK, it’s under the 12th August post “Watch the lyric video for ‘Fire’ now on VEVO”. But I’ll copy-paste the parts that I found interesting here anyways.
MH: This song is not Gavin. Go back to who you were. You can be commercial without changing who you are and who we all fell in love with from the beginning. Not a fan. and I love everything this man does.
DS: why is it… every time an artist does one song thats a little bit different to their usual stuff, some idiots feel the need to call them a sell out? or say “this just isnt them… why have they changed” can’t be a real fan if you don’t like or at least respect every song! brilliant powerful tune!!!<3
LS: to anyone who says he has to sing this kind of songs in order to stay relevant, i remind them that these already-heard-all-sounding-the-same songs are the ones people are soon going to reject. music needs diversity, not homogenisation. true artists have enough personality to evolve by staying loyal to their style and roots without bowing to the industry. influences are ok, but a total conversion to mainstream sounds and lyrics in order to reach easy success working less hard is not brave evolution, it’s commercialisation. music is identity, not fashion, to true artists. and true fans don’t have to support singers whatever they do. those are blind fans, not true ones. peace.
KA: LS, although you seem to suggest that with this song Gavin has simply sought commercialisation and is working less hard and not staying true to himself, I have to disagree. To say a pop song is easier to write and results in less work is just plain dross. He recently discussed song writing in a video interview on here and his purist views of writing on his own and how this can be restrictive, therefore collaboration brings out new things in him, thereby being more creative and inventive. The lyrics are the key to a song, which again he reiterated in the video and he stays true to this writing inciteful and what are meant to be inspirational lyrics. To me his voice brings an imperfect soulness to a pop melody, which he has experimented with more on the last album. This actually brings a uniqueness in itself. He is a true musician and I don’t believe he will lose the true spirit of the soul that makes him, he can adapt and invent accordingly. If he produces another 2 or 3 albums with samey songs then fine but to begrudge an artist diversity in his own music labelling it as pure commercialisation is a bit short sighted. Fine you may not like it and I will be honest and say I prefer nothing more than hearing Gavin singing alone with a piano, but there is only so much of that writing you can do before you become stale and lose your creativity.
LS: pop songs are not less hard than others, KA. i never said that. i really like pop music in fact, and anything in general is hard if done by means of true dedication, but the particular attitude gavin’s been having towards this whole new pop career aims precisely to produce as much music as possible feeling less stress, in order to “let the ball roll”, as he said in one of his last interviews. in order to “be in the now”. it’s patent that all this is going to affect quality. i don’t need other albums to say this cause make a move (the entire album) and fire come from the exact same field. specifically, the new single is another motivational anthem, a copy of everything will change, but this time with even poorer lyrics and annoyingly overproduced. absolutely not gavin. in the future, things might be even worse since he wants to experiment sounds and styles collaborating with artists like dj armin van buuren. i say “worse” because this is not evolution. experimenting something embracing what is trendy, following fashion after ten years of specific different direction, roots, values and trademarks, is not evolution, in my opinion. don’t like “commercialisation”? let’s say “easy attitude towards success”, if you prefer. this kind of change in this particular musical/historical period is not a brave evolution, at all. this is mere pursuit of success, exactly what he wants. he admitted that. he can say it through kind words trying not to betray long-term fans patently, but this is it. i have nothing against success for a great artist like him. he totally deserves it, but not this way. i could be successful too dueting with pitbull these days, if you see what i mean… if you watch his interviews over the years, you’ll realize he’s changed, very much, unfortunately. i had faith after make a move cause just like you i thought it would be only a step in the process, but fire is the validation of what i feared…
KA: We shall see LS. Fire is essentially the prelude to his Greatest Hits album along with You Got Me, which isn’t far removed from his original ballad material. This prelude, which was produced by serial hit makers will no doubt be a way to get people listening to the more commercial world to tap into the old Gavin as well. As I say I don’t see 11 tracks, which is what it is including Make a Move as reason to think that he has lost his roots. In fact Save Us Tonight and Leading Man are not far removed from previous things he has done to be honest. He is currently in the Make a Move tour, which he has been doing for nearly a year now so this is the current music he is producing. It’s a movement in time and I think there will be other changes in direction that he takes throughout his career to stay fresh in himself. But I do hope on the next album there is a mixture of change and the old soul, but I do like to see him evolve and what that brings to the table.
What do you think of this? Has Gavin changed his style for good? Is there no going back? Should or should he not go back?
What do I think? Well, I’m a kind of a person who almost every time finds something to agree with both sides. And so do I in this one, too. This was very interesting conversation to me, because I kinda get both of these opinions.
I was so totally disappointed with the Make a move -album when I first heard it. I thought to myself that this is not Gavin, at least not the one I knew. I thought that these songs I have heard before, they didn’t do the trick of degrawement for me. However, there was something intriguing that kept me listening it over and over again. And slowly he dragged me with him.
In one interview Gavin says that it may take several listenings through to adapt to the new things an artist is doing. And that is just what happened to me. I adapted, I like the album now, but I have to admit I like the earlier ones better.
Okay, the new single, Fire, is, just as LS said, similar to the Make a move -album. It’s not the old Gavin style. At all.
But you know. One can do only so much before becoming boring or bored of what he is doing. “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.” And in the process of developing, exploring, continuous learning that’s called life, you can’t go doing something you’ve always done. That’s not learning, that’s not taking risks, that’s not developing. That’s just boring.
So, in a way, the point I’m trying to make… Even though I may not be madly in love with the newest songs, I can still understand where it’s coming from and have a respect for that. I think it is brave to do something very different from what it has used to be. In a way I do understand LS’s opinion, too, for if the thought behind the songs would be the easy money and success, it wouldn’t be brave, that would be only sad.
But I’m not ready nor willing to believe that would be our Gavin. Time will show, though.
The thing that made me write was about being a blind fan, and with that statement I so totally agree with LS. Being a true fan doesn’t mean you should love everything an artist does, just because it’s his doing.
But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t grow to like the idea of the new things with him.