10 Pop Commandments: How to go From Being a R&B Artist to a “POPular” Artist

Pop and Dance music seem to be the hot genres now a days. It seems hard for a run of the mill soulful singer to make it big if their just equipped with an awesome voice and great lyrics. We have become a more global community due to technology. Social networks and the internet have provided outlets for singers and in many ways has leveled the playing field. However, it has also hurt singers opportunity because labels are less willing to develop artists that don’t have a ridiculous fan base. There is no sure fire way to “make it” but here are a couple ways you could be POPular in the music game.

1. If you are a black artist, bleach your skin white. If you are a white artist, make sure your sound has plenty of SOUL. Let’s be honest, when white artists provide the world with a “black sound” it sells. Let’s see … let me know a couple that fit the mold: Adele, Justin Timberlake, Elvis, Eminem, Pink, Robin Thicke,Amy Winehouse…

Can you name a couple?

2. Learn how to write and produce dance music. Who doesn’t enjoy dancing? It is a language that we all speak. That’s what made Soul Train such a success. You could dance, dance, dance! Usher almost fell into the dance hole, but I think “Climax” has brought him back …some what. Even though Usher’s flirtation with Dance might have cost him some of his R&B following, he gained more of an international following. Seems like a win, win situation. POW!

3. Losing weight works to put you in a different space. When you loss weight and tone your body you can now be marketed in a very diverse way. Jennifer Hudson is a perfect example of how a little pounds missing can transform you into a diva over night. (Not saying she wasn’t a diva before but she is now in a different space and can contend with the best.) Jordin Sparks lost weight and she looks and still sounds fabulous. (Winning!) Now Chaka Khan has reinvented herself by losing a couple unwanted pounds. (Let’s see if it works for the Chaka.)

Men can also benefit from gaining a nice 6 pack. During the “Voodoo” album, D’Angelo was a crowd favorite especially for his steamy “Untitled” aka “How Does It Feel” video. Ladies are still trying to get over that video.

4. Go under the knife. Bigger chest or backside always works wonders. Nicki Minaj is a perfect example because she wouldn’t be such a big deal if she didn’t have such a KILLER body.The world love to see a “perfect body” why not give it to them.

5. Wear crazy, extravagant or provocative clothing. Prince, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga and Madonna all have worn crazy outfits that have made them look bigger than life. Clothes make the artists. You need a great stylist or team of stylist to help you with this extraordinary task.

6. Create your own genre or say your global Dance/Pop. People love to categorize and label. If you give a cool label they will gravitate towards it.

7. Learn how to dance or get great back up dancers. Ask J. Lo if she might have an extra back up dancer around the house for you to borrow.

8. If possible be mysterious. The Gorillaz and The Weeknd have been able to have a level of mystery. (Some people still think The Weeknd is a group.) Make sure you don’t do interviews and stay in the shadows. The only catch is you have to have a co-sign or unique sound that will catch on enough for people to pay attention.

9. Be co-signed by the best. Now a days Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z seem to be the co-signing kings. Just alone, Jay-Z has co-signed acts such as Rihanna, Young Jeezy, RIck Ross, Willow Smith and Rita Ora. Lil Wayne has co-signed two of the hottest rappers out, NIcki Minaj and Drake.

What artists has Kanye West co-signed? Can you name a couple?

10. Change your hair color. Rihanna and Chris Brown both have made changes in their sound which were marked by a signature color hair change.


Do not under any circumstance say you are part of the genre labeled Soul or Neo-Soul. They have great artists in these sub-genres, but its almost taboo to be a Soul or Neo-Soul singer.