Is True Talent a Thing of the Past?

Former Bee Gee, Robin Gibb, has today spoken out against contemporary pop stars, complaining that they "just pose at singing". Robin insists that since the death of Dusty Springfield in 1999, no female singer has come close to fulfilling the talents of the late songstress.

So is Gibb's statement that "no one can match" Dusty, true?

Well, there's no doubt that she was one of the greatest pop singers in the modern pop-rock era and helped to define, along with The Beatles, the pop song as we now know it. As a British female singer, she was also one of the first artists to make a significant impression across the pond in the US market.

So what's the problem with our modern female singers then? The problem with what Robin is saying is that, yes- Dusty's talent was amazing and truely iconic, but the way in which you define that talent in today's culture, has changed.

Today, the whole idea and concept of an artist is totally different. In the 60s, the singer was judged on their singing, creativity and talent. Today an artist is so much more than that. As consumers of music, we all hope that the singing ability of the artist is guaranteed (although unfortunately with the advances of modern technology, this talent is not always necessary). However, in our dynamic, must-have culture, we want more than just a talented singer. We want the spectacle, the act, the character. We want to feel like a part of a fantasy world where we can forget about everything else. And we want it now.

This modern kind of artist that Robin Gibb talks about can be seen in the likes of Lady Gaga, where the whole act is based around the idea of the spectacle. She becomes the character and performs. It isn't enough for her audience for her to just sing. They need the elaborate costumes and imagery to transfer themselves into this new environment.

However, there are also amazingly talented artists who are seen as more authentic to their audience purely for their talent, the songs and the music. This would relate to the hugely successful Adele, who has gained her success through exactly this. People relate to her songs and she doesn't need a spectacular display to distract her audience. She has been marketed through the fact that she can really sing - much like Dusty Springfield.

Robin Gibb's statement that since Springfield died, no one could hold a candle to her, is somewhat an exaggeration. Extraordinary female singers and performers have, at times, dominated the music industry, as can be seen by icons such as Annie Lennox and PJ Harvey, as well as those in other musical genres.

So as we continue to see new artists grace our TV screens and radio airwaves, who know's how talent will be defined in the future? But what we do know is that amazing singers will always break through because of the sheer force of their talent, and when the only thing for them to compete with is total drudgery, it shouldn't be that difficult!