There's a lesser known artist from the UK called Aiden Grimshaw. His style and the type of music he produces doesn't fit how he got his start, but that's what's so beautiful about the music industry- everyone has their own unique journey. He was a contestant on the X Factor UK. Yes, one of those god awful singing competition shows. An entity that has been condemned by music lovers and members of the music industry alike. They are criticized for taking the authenticity [and therefore, feeling] out of the music. For producers, managers, and record labels with money on the mind, manufacturing hit makers becomes the ultimate goal. And, if that happens on screen, generating more cash, so be it.
I agree with the sentiment. I understand where people are coming from when they condemn these competitions. It seems like successful artists who worked all of their lives to get where they are today have a hard time respecting other artists who took the easy way to the top. They went on a music show, gained a following, got a record deal, and voila- Kelly Clarksoned that shit. I totally get where they are coming from, too. There's something less satisfying about an artist who didn't work their way to the top- there's less of a history. And that's what makes them seem/feel manufactured.
With all of that said, I have to admit that I continue to watch the X Factor [only the UK version because I'm a bit of an anglophile]. However manufactured or fake those artists who graduate from these shows may come off, you can't deny that many of them actually have some real, undeniable talent. Some of them had hard lives and found entering one of these competitions as a final chance to get that ticket to the big time. Others [mostly the young ones] had no patience and wanted fame over night. Either way, in many cases the talent is there. Which brings be to Aiden.
In 2010, he didn't win the X Factor, but he made it pretty far on the show with his unique voice. Like many of his predecessors, he signed to a record label shortly after. For me, what set Aiden apart from his other competitors was his style of music and his presence on stage. The way he sang and his song choices seemed much more alternative than others on the show. When you think about competition shows like the X Factor, you usually associate it with pop or popular music. This wasn't the case with him. [And, that might have been his downfall on the show for all we know.]
Anyway, he went on to release some music in 2012, which is where I really started to like him. The album Misty Eye (2012) boasted two really awesome singles. Both Is This Love and Curtain Call allowed him to really emphasize his voice with a fitting style of music. It takes on a more bluesy tone that really matches his voice well. It's probably an odd comparison, but I feel like he has a soulful tone similar to Alicia Keys. I might only be making that reference because a female vocalist features on Curtain Call and it just sounds amazing adjacent to his voice. Check it out below.
After that release, we really didn't hear much from him. He split with Sycho after his debut and he decided to dramatically switch up his image. He no longer goes by Aiden Grimshaw, but just Aiden. He released a new EP titled [guess what] AIDEN in late 2013. It strays very, very far from his first EP. He got more into EDM, I guess following the trend of the industry. More Daft Punk, than Keys. Personally, I'm not a huge fan. I don't think it does his unique voice justice. But, you can check out the first single Satisfy Me below and decide for yourself.
With all the negative things said about singing competition shows, I just wanted to bring up the positive that can come out of it. Sure, it might be the easy way, but it can bring our attention to artists and music that we might have never heard before.
Until next time, happy listening!