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Alexander Stapleton

Star Persona: Case Studies


L/O: Summarise the points made in each article explaining how the artists are made to
appeal to an audience and how their star persona is consciously shaped.
Justin Bieber:
The way in which Justin Bieber has gone through three
phrases, good, bad, good, has enabled him to boost his
popularity with his fan to international stardom status.
Nowadays, child pop star goes bad is so engrained in the
modern day pop narrative.
His new single What Do You Mean? at No. 1 on both sides
of the Atlantic, symbolises Justin Biebers dramatic and
swift return to international popularity.
In July 2013, Bieber urinated in a bucket before swearing at
a picture of Bill Clinton, brought a pet monkey, apparently
illegally, and then left it frightened and alone in Germany,
he also supposedly visited a Brazilian brothel, egged his
neighbours house after a dispute which then led to the police raiding Biebers house
and finding drugs; and finally, getting arrested in January 2014 for allegedly drunk
driving and drag racing.
In the end a petition carrying 262,817 signatures made its way to the White House
asking for the Canadian fringe experimentalist to be deported.
However, Bieber has managed to transform his image back to one associated with
positivity as well as popularity. This has included agreeing to do Comedy Centrals
Roast of Justin Bieber as well as numerous Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. He
also has become the new face of Calvin Klein, enabling to appeal to fans on both a
personal and physical level.
He now seems on course to become bigger than ever, a rare young male star in a pop
market dominated by women. His good-bad-good transition, from teen pin-up to
confused bad boy to rehabilitated megastar can act as a template for future male pop star
transitions.
Ed Sheehan:
Ed Sheehan has managed to appeal to fans in a
different way, not by numerous transitions
between bad and good but has found popular
appeal because a generation of music lovers can
identify with him as an outsider.
He also relates his fanbase to Taylor Swift who
also could have been perceived as an outsider
due to her country background, We were both
the uncool kids. Our fanbase is exactly the
same.

Alexander Stapleton
Ed also has had a troubled life which allows fans to empathise with the singer and
appreciate the meaning of his songs. For example, he had a perforated eardrum which
was not replaced until he was 11, he had a large birth mark on his face which was later
removed using laser surgery and he had a detached retina which had the knock-on
effect of giving him a lazy eye. He also suffered nerve damage as a child during an
operation which led to a stutter, which was cured with therapy.
I was a weird little ginger kid, with a stutter, big NHS specs and no ear drum, he
said.
Rihanna:
Rihanna has been able to appeal to her fans
while constantly changing and evolving her
music style through intimate social interaction.
The singer understands how the intimacy of
social media enables pop stars to connect with
fans more closely than before. Where others
leave tweets to their press teams or only share
impersonal promotional material, Rihanna has
built a brand on giving her followers early
access to personal photos, upcoming magazine
editorials and, obviously, song teasers.
A strong work ethic, constantly delivering new content to fans. For example, between
the years 2005 to 2012, she released one album per year.
Successes with her EDM collaborations with Calvin Harris, such as her hit We Found
Love and her recent release This Is What You Came For has also widened her fan base
by appealing to fans of a different genre while also enabling her to fix herself in the top
10 chart worldwide.
She also has a highly provocative and sexualised style, her daring fashion sense further
feeds into her brand (see above), making fans eager not only to stand for her music but
to rave about whatever outfit she was seen wearing in the club. However, her
collaborations with high street and sports brands such as Puma make her relatable and
enable fans to channel her style into their outfits in their own personal way.
Personal Case Study, Troye Sivan:
Richard Dyer states that, A star is an image not a
real person that is constructed out of a range of
materials.
Pop stars establish their character and personality
through songs and performance and will strive for
immediate star identity with a first album. They
appear to have more control over their persona in
that many of them write their own songs, and that
their body of work develops, chronologically over

Alexander Stapleton
time, along with society.
Troye Sivan has established a strong character and personality by coming out as gay.
This allows fan to connect with him on a more personal level, while giving his music a
new depth of meaning and sincerity. However, this is also important in Troyes USP,
that sets him apart from other artists. He is unique as he stands as a role-model and
inspiration to others in the gay community.
For example, Troye helped a young fan come out to her mum during one of his concerts
in the United States. If youre reading this, can you announce that Kelly is bisexual,
please? the note read. Kellys mum was also in the audience that night. After reading
the note, Troye ran over to Kelly, shook her hand and blew her a kiss. After the concert,
a video shows Kelly and her mom reuniting with a huge hug, lots of love, and a few
tears.