Kelleigh Bannen Explores the Good and Bad of Superfans in ‘This Nashville Life’ Podcast
Every other week, Kelleigh Bannen will provide behind-the-scenes analysis, stories and insight into Music City’s No. 1 export, with help from some of Nashville’s top songwriters, artists, executives and producers. Taste of Country will debut each new episode of her This Nashville Life podcast, and Bannen herself will introduce it as a guest writer. Thoughts and opinions expressed by Bannen are hers alone and do not reflect the opinions of Taste of Country, unless she’s talking about #TomatoGate, in which case, yeah … she’s spot on.
Beliebers. Little Monsters. Monkeyville. Directioners. Swifties. KatyCats. Church Choir. BeyHive. Nut House. These are all names of fandoms and fan clubs.
Let’s be honest, even if we’re not in a “fandom,” we’ve all fanned out over someone, or been starstruck meeting someone we truly admire. For me, it’s pretty much every time I’ve ever walked a red carpet, or been backstage at an awards show. There was also this one time that I hugged Kenny Rogers for about 6 seconds too long at Capitol Records event and my husband practically had to pull me away. Kenny, I’m sorry.
In this week’s episode of This Nashville Life, we take a look at fan culture and the relationship between fans and artists. We talk with Jencita Vargas, a Taylor Swift fan who has turned her knowledge and passion as a music lover into a major platform of influence. From her Taylor update account (which has more than 67,000 followers on Twitter) to her music news and entertainment site Variety Beat, Jencita is redefining the role of a traditional music fan. The term “superfan” gets thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? We ask Jencita how she defines it, and it kind of comes down to a question of where you put the emphasis: SUPERfan, or superFAN.
Earlier this year, Justin Beiber announced that he would no longer be doing meet-and-greets at his shows. He also took to Instagram to express his frustration over fans taking his photo out without asking permission while he's in public. The same day, Bobby Bones made this post on Instagram with Beiber’s note on the left, and his own on the right:
So, is this about common courtesy? Or about the different relationships the pop world and the country world have with their respective fans? In country music, we’re very connected to our fans, and I think we all know that they are the reason that we have the privilege of making music music for a living — which is a pretty extraordinary thing. But where are the lines? What’s appropriate in the fan/artist relationship, or is it different in every case?
Would you call yourself a “fan?” What do you think of the term “superfan?” And where are the lines? Check out the episode and let us know what you think.
Listen to This Nashville Life Ep. 6: "It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Superfan"
About Kelleigh Bannen: Kelleigh Bannen’s This Nashville Life Podcast offers an authentic, vibrant look at the journey of someone trying to “make it” in country music. Bannen is admittedly still learning what that means. After a short career as an independent artist, the “Famous” singer signed a major label record deal and recorded two-and-a-half albums that were never released. She’s honest, but not bitter about the obstacles female artists face in country music, but her blog and podcast go much deeper.