After yesterday’s rant (here), I promised Pop for today. Good to my word that’s what I bring you this morning. I first heard ‘Enlighten Me’ by Kipani about a week ago and knew straight away that it was right up Sonic Breakfast’s street.
It will come as no surprise to those who know me well but I’m not the best at taking advice. I’ve tried to get better in recent years at seeing things from other viewpoints and at not taking criticism personally but my modus operandi when I perceive I’m being attacked is to fight back. I don’t think I’m as hot-headed when a document I’ve crafted upon for hours is obliterated with red pen as I once was but I am now mastering the art of deep breathing, taking a step back and returning to the initial advice after a few hours. It does help and sometimes (though rarely of course) I can see that others do have a point.
I’ve always been this way. I was a regular visitor to the Head Teacher’s office at my infant school. The six-year old Sean wasn’t badly behaved in the traditional sense; he didn’t get in fights (much) or break the well-considered rules but often took issue with the classroom teachers who were trying to force him down routes that made no sense. And hand-writing practice where you form a weird shaped S to sit perfectly between two pencil lines you’ve just drawn to a page with a ruler still seems like a stupid way to gain a writing skill. I’m glad that Ms. Morgan, the School’s Head, was happy to debate such things with me when the classroom teachers sent the unruly me to her.
I’m reminded of nieces and nephews, of friends who worry that their children are too wilful. And I tell them not to be. Compliance sits uneasily with feistiness and having an opinion on things yet I think I value the latter qualities more.
It’s been a long preamble (for which I make no apology) but in Enlighten Me, Kipani is sarcastically responding to advice offered. I guess in the music industry there are added layers of complexity at play when dealing with advice that’s being given. Insecurities, jealousies and a well-drilled perspective of ‘watching your own back’ mean that advice is often not coming from the best place. It still must be a tangle to unravel.
“There is definitely a lot of personal experience that this song is heavily influenced by,”, says Tiffany (who is Kipani) when I briefly ask her about it in the build-up to this post.
“When you do something like this you are always opening yourself up to criticism. The worst advice I have ever received was actually from a music critic. They suggested rather than focusing on my own writing as an artist, I should instead build my career by lending my voice to other projects. Essentially gaining notoriety from what I jokingly refer to as being the “chick on the hook”. I’m so glad I didn’t take that one to heart! The best advice I was ever given was to stand behind your craft no matter how many likes it gets (or doesn’t get) and never let the feedback get under your skin or alter your opinion of yourself as an artist. It might seem like a simple thing but that outlook can sometimes get lost in this very judgmental industry.”
Enlighten Me is a pop song with a message. It’s dispatched with radiant charm, tongue-in-cheek confidence, assured vocal and singalong credibility. The dance moves from the chairs of Kipani’s co-conspirators are a joy to behold in the video once the song kicks in with an absolute belter of a chorus.
The weekend is here. Let’s all kickback with Kipani. The world is a better place with Tiffany not being the ‘chick on the hook’ – of that we can all agree.