Is Paris Jackson talented?
Following my posts on different social networks since yesterday, and especially following those congratulating Paris for his talent, I received several comments not hesitating to refute this appreciation or, sometimes with more subtlety, to at least question it. People whose opinion is not always clear, others who are fans of Michael, others who refer to themselves as professionals or musicians or...
In short. What is talent? The definitions in the Larousse are broad, ranging from simple "ability" to "remarkable gift" to "special aptitude". Everyone will appreciate, according to his tastes and his milestones, in which category he will place Paris.
For my part, I will not go back over the content or the (un)measure (for some) of my remarks. But are these people ready to say and assume that Paris has no talent? And if so, on what criteria are they basing themselves?
Have they even listened to her songs, her lyrics, her voice? Have they gone to see her, to hear her, to appreciate her in the proximity of a hall to take the measure of the vibration she fills it with? Because judging on a soundtrack or a video is one thing. But one can never really take the measure of an artist until one has embodied the experience, breathed its air, captured its vital frequency. Even in a big hall. Even in a stadium.
So how do they measure talent? By artistic expectations or by his father?
Do they know that measuring the quality of a voice with a sound meter in hand, to evaluate its power, or a stopwatch, to quantify its breath, is from another century? I believe that talent is to be found elsewhere: in the pleasure and joy felt, in the tears that rise, in the heart that beats faster, in the serenity that settles in, in the harmony, in tune, between the body, the soul, the music. Talent is at one with the grain of voice, muffled or bright, hoarse or clear, even (and especially in our time) sifted through the silver grid of the microphone. It expresses itself in the accuracy as in the crack, in the cry as in the murmur, in the sound as in the silence. He exhales a living being, a life experience, a metalanguage that hovers far beyond the word and the frequency.
Talent is not to be confused with technique, conformity to the commercial canons of the moment, or with forced originality. There are as many talents as there are artists and, in order to evaluate each one, I believe that the mistake not to be made is that of comparison.
A talent speaks to us, touches us by and in itself, goes straight to our hearts long before our brains start racing to think and analyze. If it doesn't touch us, it's not the talent that should be questioned, but maybe just oneself, in the sense that we can't always be the heart of our target. And that's okay. We should probably let it then touch others, without smearing it or trying to shoot it down in the process.
As far as I am concerned, Paris Jackson has multiple talents that touch me, independently of her father. She has a presence that I mentioned in a previous post, a Being that I didn't suspect but that could only be, in hindsight, obvious. Her raw soul and her blood irrigate each of her sentences. His grace and fragility make his guitar sound very special. His melodies, whose softness highlights the visceral and sharp character of certain words, are a flow that is shared and transmitted in an auratic space that goes beyond all our too clear contours.
So what? Are you disappointed perhaps? Would you have liked her to moonwalk while vocalizing a percussive scat? That's your right, but then you're the one who's wrong: in this case, she's just not your core target. But not feeling her talent doesn't mean she doesn't have it. Can we seriously believe that it is possible for a young woman named Jackson to go into the music business, in other words, to throw herself into the lion's den without the vital and intimate conviction that she has something to do in this field? Do we think she would have survived more than a day? I sincerely believe that, perhaps more than many others, the Jackson children had time to learn from their father to listen to their hearts, their guts, their souls, to discern, as he did, what they came into this world to do and what they might have better to give it. What will be the mission or missions of Paris Jackson in this world? To give meaning to the lives of a crowd of people of all ages who are already devoted to her, to cradle them with her voice and her songs, to accompany them on their journey by making them happy or by sharing their sadness, to bring them light and strength, seems to me to be, whatever means she will continue to deploy, a mission already well underway and factually justified.
This young woman has found, thanks to her talent, an audience. She has taken her part in our individual memories as much as in the collective memory. All of this, not with her name alone, her physical appearance or anything else, but with her flame, her will, her work, her own and visceral musical identity.
All this seems to me indisputable.
And if my appreciation of talent disturbs certain judges of the right mind because I have the academic label of musicologist, let them know that this is undoubtedly why I remain an "independent" researcher: to be free to appreciate and analyze, and I would even say to like in order to "better" analyze and to analyze in order to "better" like, and, finally, not to push reasonings disconnected from any common sense (as we sometimes see), or even from any emotion - which is a bit of an understatement, when the material on which we work is music.