The song I chose to do is ‘Man Down’ by Shakka. The song is of this era, it is modern and upbeat. The song itself is narrative, it tells a story, watching the video or listening to the lyrics will automatically tell you what the song is about. The storyline is a girl who wants to be in relationship with the guy however he doesn’t want that, he was just in it for the fun.
Since 2010 a singer/songwriter style became apparent in a lot of artists. This is where you would write your own songs then sing it. These songs are usually about the artists own experiences and therefore are filled with emotions. Such songs can be very relatable as it is about real life experiences. Man down is a song which outlines the relationship between Shakka and a girl. In this song, he explains that she wants to be in a serious relationship with him, however, Shakka doesn’t want to be with her. Despite this she tries to get involved with his life.
The song is upbeat and catchy which got everyone singing, there is singing from both Shakka and the girl who is featured, AlunaGeorge. The song is aimed at people who like R&B, Pop etc. creating a wide spread audience who will buy, listen and download the song making money for the artist himself. Shakka is an independent artist so he has total control over his career and has a music style that is excluded from mainstream.
Is to recreate the original music video but add my own style to it. The opening shots will possibly be a montage of shots showing the typical outfit choices for women in R&B music videos. Then moving on to a shot of a women’s feet stepping out of the shower then here we have the twist of her putting on a police uniform, construction cap or be in any uniform where that job that is predominantly male, all in all to show women empowerment.
The video could then move on a girl getting out of bed however she doesn’t go in the bathroom and spends hours in the mirror trying to look polished, she just gets on with her day as is. Here she is breaking the typical stereotype of women.
I was also thinking of having a complete role reversal as to how women are actually represented in these videos, instead, it’s men who are now in that derogatory light of showing their bodies or being there for the sole purpose of being ‘pretty’/ something to look at.
I would like to end the video with a girl and boy sleeping in a bed then suddenly the guy wakes out of his slumber, completely perplexed of the night prior. He’s looking around the room trying to put pieces together and looks down only to see him wearing a bra and then looks up at the camera in a state of shock. Then the shot cuts to black.
As humans being we story-tell. It is what we do to either entertain, sympathise or empathise and that is exactly what videos do too, it gives someone a reaction.
R&B audiences are typically teenagers and young adults between the ages of 13 to 25 and are mostly females. This could be due to the explicit lyrics, artists, music and how the cinematography is displayed and what they contain within them. Females are usually targeted by R&B artists because of the stereotype that they write songs about love, being in love and heartbreak these type of songs will appeal to teenage girls and young adults as it usually relates to them. Fast R&B songs usually attract to women as they involve fashion and synergy within the narrative or theme.
Male R&B artists usually targets a female audience because the male artists are portrayed as sexy through their lyrics and nudity. A female will find this attractive and appealing because they will be physically attracted to the artist. However the male audience will be attracted to the jewellery worn, cars, cash/wealth, fashion and women in minimal clothing. R&B fans are usually from a African American/black background due to R&B being rhythm, blues and soul which comes from African America in the 1950’s.
Questionnaire & Focus group:
I issued out an online an questionnaire and conducted a focus group to have a more informed opinion about the topic.
“R&B (Rhythm and Blues) is a very popular genre in music that has gone through several remarkable changes. Rock, hip-hop, jazz, and soul are some important elements of this genre. R&B giants like John Legend, Rihanna, and Beyonce have brought an enormous change to this incredible genre in the 21st century. Artists like Dru Hill, Boyz II Men, and TLC were some popular names in the 20th century that dominated the industry. If you take the time to check out R&B Instrumentals, you’d see that changes are not only occurred to the genres and demographics but the instruments have also changed with the passage of time.
This genre has gone through multiple changes since the day it was first introduced and it is still going to see a lot of other changes in the future. When we take a look at the past, we see that most of the singers use to sing about the love. They use to sing about the amazing moments that the lovers spent together before the breakup. The same type of songs are still being produced but not at a higher scale.
Then the singers moved to the advancement and they started singing about several other important aspects of life. The jazz and soul were the initial stages of the R&B and they are still very popular all around the world. In the early 2000s, the slow music gradually moved out of the court and the pop music started taking place.
This type of music was also highly appreciated by the youngsters because it had the amazing beats in it. This was the time when several music groups and bands jumped into the music industry to show their skills. The trends kept changing and the topics like love, sex, freedom, fun, and excitement became the main focus of most of the singers as people loved to hear that kind of songs. So, when you take a look at songs of last decade, you see that there are many songs that have mentioned the happiness of living a joyful life.
After 2010, a new change came to this industry and the hip-hop music started getting popular and this is the time when rap songs came into being. The rap songs are still moving towards advancement and we see various changes to the rap songs every day. Some singers are making a rap of old songs and some are creating their own rap songs. Things like love, sex, whiskey, and vodka are the main focus of this new.”
“UK R&B singer songwriter Shakka, a fast-emerging artist ending 2015 riding on a huge high. Having been crowned MOBO’s best R&B artist and releasing the acclaimed Lost Boys EP, he’s spent the past 12 months building on early success working with Basement Jaxx and releasing a series of acapella YouTube videos as the Shakkapellas.”
“Born in West London’s Notting Hill to Caribbean parents, he cut his teeth working with his father in the studio before getting his big break, writing a guest verse on Wretch 32’s smash hit Blackout. Shakka has never looked back and is now eyeing up 2016 as a break-out chart hero in the making.”
Shakka is an upcoming independent artist. More and more artist are becoming independent, meaning they make their own music without the help of any labels therefore any money they make from the money goes directly to them. The recognition is solely fixated on them. They will have the power to have total control over their career without any interference.
Summary of research results
I carried out a questionnaire to see how people feel toward R&B music. I analyse the demographics of who listen to R&B music and it showed that 88% of black people preferred R&B. This is because of where the it derives from; it comes from African America meaning rhythm and blues. Black people had R&B apart of their culture.
82% of females between the ages of 18-25 and 25+ are those who listen to R&B. This is expected because their target audience is teenagers and young adults though many songs can be aimed at males too. This could massively be because of the lyrics or because of the artist as some of the audience may look up to them. It could also be the cinematography of it all, the shots and camera movements may be aesthetically pleasing. Females are usually targeted by R&B musics because they sometimes are about love and the idea of being in love.
The questionnaire showed that 47.62% liked a performance music video therefore to have the artist in the video. I also asked if the thought music videos are relevant and a whopping 83.33% said yes. This is because if there wasn’t a music video the audience wouldn’t find the song as interesting. Visuals are great because it adds another layer of consumption.
I put together a focus group to have an in depth analysis of a topic, which is R&B music videos. I, myself participated in the discussion along with 2 of my peers. We watched a music video from the R&B genre; R.Kelly -Ignition, and analysed the style, cinematography and codes and conventions of the video. We discussed the fact that the video portrays women in a derogatory light by having them in minimal clothing, dancing around whilst the men were fully clothed. The typical club scene, money and alcohol present was expected.
There has been a drastic change in R&B music over the years. Both slow and fast videos can be seen in this genre. The slow songs could be about love whilst the fast songs are about parties. The more upbeat songs consists of bright colours and flashy cars as well as the conventions could feature clubs, champagne, artificial lights and women in minimal clothing. This is what we noticed in the video we analysed. Women become more and more sexualised in them, though the male artist can be seen now in their videos dancing shirtless, wearing jeans and covered in tattoos. This is to appeal to both audiences as objects of desire. Watching R&B music videos nowadays are very predictable you will have already registered what is to be expected in this genre of music.
The more relaxed and sensual songs of this genre usually follow a narrative which could mean having a co-star alongside the artist. The video can also be softened along with uses of natural lighting to give off that sense of reality.