How To Become A Pop Star In Seven Easy Steps

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2. Say "Baby" a Lot: Literally every pop star repeats the word "baby" so much in their songs, it's less like an expression of affection and more like an invocation to enrapture lovestruck fans. Throwing the word "baby" out there allows impressionable young girls to imagine that the pop star in question is singing the song to her personally, or else it gives her cause to imagine herself singing it to whichever twee, feminine boy-girl she's got a crush on at the time.

Plus, if the song's main lyrics are simply the word "baby" repeated over and over, it's a hell of a lot easier to remember, more likely to get stuck in folks' heads, and get requested on the radio. (Apparently FM radio is still somehow relevant in today's world, although we're not sure why this is true or who, exactly, is still listening.)

3. Tease, Tease, Tease: Okay, you've got the kids indoctrinated. A couple of years have passed, however, and those kids are starting to grow up and reject the things they clung to as children; it's a natural part of maturing. You don't want them to lose interest in you, yet you don't want their parents to bar you from their households, either, so you've got to walk a bit of a highwire between those two options.

Keep your lyrics G-rated, but start wearing skimpier outfits or dancing sexier onstage. Let some risqué photos leak to the media when your phone gets "stolen." Maybe get sighted underage drinking at a party or club. Whatever you do, make sure it's a gradual slope of relatively subtle hijinks or else nervous parents could still cut off the cash supply to your fan base.

When people start calling you "jailbait," you know you've achieved the perfect balance of having made people want to savagely fuck you while keeping in mind that doing so would be naughty.

4. Media Saturation: By this time, you'll be getting plenty of tabloid action, and you can stop there if you just want to become a train wreck, but to achieve true pop stardom, you need more. You need your song to be playing in the background while Ambiguously Pretty White Guy stiffly makes out with Naïve, Starry-Eyed Waif Girl on teen-oriented soap operas like Meaghanne and Teagaen's Vapid Party Life and The Pouty Vampire Fashion Model Fantasy Hour.

You need to appear in a Diet Pepsi commercial, singing about how carbonated caffeine and Nutrasweet will make kids cooler and more popular. You need to guest star on How I Put Your Mother Through Eleven Excruciating Goddamn Seasons of Awkward Wooing. Start dating any interchangeable pop star who hovers near your current level of fame. Before long, even the mainstream news should be running stories on how visible your camel toe was in those jogging pants you went running in the other day, with lots of telephoto-zoom pictures and insincere chiding.

That's when you know you should move on to the next step.

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John Seaborn Gray