Adelen, a 16 year old singer who was a finalist to represent Norway at the ESC, recently complained about the online bullying she has been subjected to over her singing. Online bullying is a very serious problem. At the same time, we cannot discuss music without criticizing that which we find sub-par. So where do you draw the line?

Part of the problem in Adelen’s case is that she was suddenly thrust into the spotlight at age 16. That’s rough at any age and really rough for a teen. Most people want to be liked and human nature is to focus on the negative comments instead of the positive ones. Anyone who chooses to enter the public arena does so with the constant—sometimes brutal—feedback about their work. The flip side of lots of people telling you they love your work are the others who don’t like it.

And no matter what you sing, no matter how good you are, no matter how amazing your presentation is, most people won’t like it. And the more popular you become, the more people you are exposed to. And the more people you are exposed to, for each person who likes your music, several will listen and dislike it. There is no song that will be appealing to the majority of people. Justin Bieber is a prime example of this conundrum.

Adelen sings live during Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix 2013

So how to draw the line between valid critiques and bullying? First off is writing that “I think this song sucks” as opposed to “the singer has no talent.” The first is saying the song does not appeal to you while the second denigrates the individual. That underlying focus is a giant difference.

Second, if someone is poor at singing, presenting, etc., it is valid to say so. But this skirts a lot closer to bullying and I think people need to ask themselves first if it is valid or their dislike of the song is influencing their view of the performer. All too often dislike of a song translates into personal attacks and that is unequivocally bullying. Same when the criticism turns to aspects that have nothing to do with an artist’s singing, then you’ve again crossed into bullying.

As to those posting, if you are focusing on the negatives, with most of your posts tearing others down, then yes – you’re a bully. And more to the point, you should probably look in the mirror because the big problem is you are not accomplishing anything and you’re trying to just pull those that have put in the effort to be successful back down to your level. You’re a crab.

As to Adelen and all of the others out there facing this, it’s a fact of life. By all means call it out but there are a lot of crabs out there. Don’t let that stop you from reaching for the stars.

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat. I didn’t say that. Theodore Roosevelt did.

 

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John
John
7 years ago

“vebooboo” Adelen is clearly a singer with potential. Watch this YouTube video taken two years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-crFAqyI7A
It can certainly be hard singing an flat pop song when she has an R & B voice. Give her som time..

Anthony
Anthony
7 years ago

@David Thielen,
If Adelen stepped onto the music industry and then we all suddenly see her deliver flawless performances, then she wouldn’t have suffered all this bullying recently. Did it happen? Sadly, no so Adelen clearly haven’t had the best of starts despite “Bombo” selling like hot cakes.

David Thielen
7 years ago

Anthony: I’d say her lack of experience in the music industry makes Adelen a sitting duck, therefore it’s inevitable that she’s becoming an easy target for being bullied.

Why? Not inevitable that it did happen, but why should we treat it as expected instead of calling it out?

Alex B
Alex B
7 years ago

Plus, with the song selling in Norway it looks like she us going to have some extra euros in her pocket this spring.

Norway saw the live show and it did not stop them from purchasing the song. I would purchase it if they start selling it in the USA.

Anthony
Anthony
7 years ago

I’d say her lack of experience in the music industry makes Adelen a sitting duck, therefore it’s inevitable that she’s becoming an easy target for being bullied. Bear in mind, she’s only 16 and still at high school at the moment! Trying to get Adelen to become a world class singer immediately will be like getting a fifth-tier football club, wave a magic wand and suddenly they start playing like Barcelona. It’s not going to happen and Adelen will obviously need time to develop as a singer. Some 2 months later, “Bombo” is still going strong at the Norwegian iTunes… Read more »

Alex B
Alex B
7 years ago

@vebooboo
Exactly. There is room at eurovision for 3 minutes of fun, of just dancing and singing and not focusing on the technical aspects of the voice.

This is that kind of song.
If this was at Eurovision it would have become a hit no matter where it finished.
Average vocals didn’t stop la la love last year from becoming a commercial success.

vebooboo
vebooboo
7 years ago

Adelen may not be a good singer, but the song she picked to sing was the bomb. I’m so sad this isn’t going to be playing in the cruisy Euroclub this year.

Nirgal
Nirgal
7 years ago

Both.
I think she has received both. But, as John said, she needs to learn to deal with it, even the bullying, and the biggest problem here is that she’s too young for that. Still, that doesn’t make it right to do it, and we could and should stop it if we find ourselves doing it.

Alex B
Alex B
7 years ago

Im reporting back to say I have gotten addicted to this song lol.

It’s so catchy, I’ve gotten hooked. Perfect summer song to dance the night away.

I’m not being sarcastic either, I would have loved for this to have gone to Malmo.
3 minutes of fun never hurt anybody.

Alex B
Alex B
7 years ago

Well gave it a few more listens and I would have to downgrade it to below average. Like John said, definitely flat, and pitchy in spots.

The live performance actually sounds better than the recording in my opinion. But damn, the song is catchy.

Alex B
Alex B
7 years ago

Plus, I would rate the vocals here as average, and not as awful as everyone says.

The song though is very catchy.

Alex B
Alex B
7 years ago

If you think an artist is no good, do not buy their music. Telling a singer to die on her twitter or Facebook account is extreme and does nothing to help the artist improve. I will tell an I like artist they are good, on their social media sites, but the artists I don’t like I just ignore. If an artist wants to protect themselves though, they should not open up accounts because it is naive to believe you are only going to get positive feedback. In the 21st century, part of your job as an artist is to not… Read more »

John
John
7 years ago

I’m sorry, but Adelen isn’t a good singer at all – her performance of “Bombo” was entirely pitchy and flat. Saying that doesn’t make me a bully, I’m simply stating an obvious fact that anyone can see if they if they judge the performance objectively. I know that the people running this blog are huge fans of Adelen, but you can’t accuse everyone who doesn’t like her performance of cyber-bullying. That’s ridiculous. Whilst it’s tough for someone so young dealing with the limelight, and she most likely has a bright future ahead of her, if she is unable to deal… Read more »