Would You Allow Your Kid to Be a Teen Idol?
It seems that Canadian youngsters have a way with YouTube; two more tweens have hit it big thanks to a combination of musical talent and an Internet boost.
Heather Russell, a 10-year-old from Toronto, was just signed by Simon Cowell. The soulful singer writes her own music and sings with a pedigree beyond her years. Cowell flew her to London to sign a deal after she gained a following on YouTube.
Maria Aragon, also 10, from Winnipeg, got recognition from Lady Gaga herself, after posting a video of her singing Born This Way, on - you guessed it - YouTube. After the video got millions of hits, Aragon was a guest on the Ellen show.
And so the media whirlwind begins for these two young and talented girls. I hope they survive with their self-confidence and family intact.
If the record companies came knocking on my door tomorrow for my 10-year-old, I would say "No, thank you." To me, it seems that the risks are too great to sign up a kid for a music career. I figure if they sound great at 10, won't they also sound incredible at 18? And at that point they will have lived the normal life of a teen as well as gained the maturity to handle some of the demands. And let's be honest, can you name a teen sensation that has not spiralled downwards in their adulthood?
I was so sure that I was right that I asked music industry expert Eric Alper to confirm that the music industry is a terrible place for a 10-year-old. Alper totally disagreed with me however, saying that if his daughter had a musical gift and the passion he would go for it. He said there was no guarantee that a 10-year-old's beautiful voice would last through teenagehood, so if there is an opportunity a family should grab it.
I thought that someone who sees the inside of the music industry and who has lived through teen singers get hot and then get dropped would not want to expose his kid to such a life. But he said the important thing is that the teen has a group of strong people around them who will protect them.
He agreed that it is a tough life filled with hard work and sometimes questionable management practices, but he believes with the right choices a truly talented teen will be fine. "How can you hold someone back?" he asked me.
I don't think of it as holding a child back, I think of getting them ready for life and learning to harness their gift. (This is totally hypothetical of course, since my kids are not gifted with musical talent). Alper was convincing, but I still disagree. I have a hard time even watching the 15-year-olds on American Idol get chewed out by the judges, let alone my own kid. I think that a truly talented child will still be talented as an adult. And so what if they don't succeed as a teen in the music industry? I hope that my kids are more than one-hit wonders, even if they were blessed with an incredible talent (so far there's no sign unless you count video games). They would also have other qualities that make them a success in any field they choose.
Funnily enough, when I told my husband about the discussion he also disagreed with me saying that he would do whatever he had to do to support his child's dream. Good thing our kids are just average, it could have gotten ugly.
If Simon Cowell wanted to sign your 10-year-old would you agree? Would you wait until your chid was older?
Want more? Last year I wrote a post about how puppy training is a lot like child rearing.