Avid music fans have always longed for ways to get closer to their idols. But today’s social media playground gives them no way of knowing whether the beloved artist — or just some flunky, or perhaps nobody — even reads their heartfelt posts.
Enter Cleveland State psychology student Melissa Gentile, who has found a better way of online stalking ... er, adoration: It’s called dearartists.com, and it encourages fans to create their own pieces of art in messages addressed to the very artists who have touched their lives.
“The website is a way to reach out to musicians and artists who have influenced us or helped us through difficult times,” Gentile offers hopefully.
“The idea came from an experience I had at a Jason Mraz concert,” says the Mentor resident. “He sings a lot about nature and his faith. It resonated with me, and I wanted to tell him.” She wrote a letter thanking him for sharing his passion and ideas, and was disappointed when she couldn’t find a way to give it to him at a recent show.
So far, a couple dozen fans have frequented the site, posting mainly cut-and-paste artwork bearing hand-scrawled tributes. A photo of Beyonce bears the message: “Because of you I’m a stronger woman.” An image of Weezer’s 1994 so-called “Blue Album” proclaims, “This album made me want to join a band in high school.”
The site contains homages to the influential (think Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, and Tupac) and the marginal (thank you for playing, Silverchair!). There’s even a note dedicated to Cleveland rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
No word yet, however, on whether the world’s celebrities are actually tuning in.
“If I were an artist, I would love to see that the music I’m creating is really affecting people,” Gentile says. Or in the case of Silverchair, just that anyone still remembers who they are.