May 30, 2023

Ice Spice, Artist Development & Audience Engagement

Artist development as audience engagement

Mayuyuka Kaunda

With what might be the most high profile hip hop cross over since "Old Town Road", Ice Spice just entered rarefied territory by snagging a feature on a Taylor Swift song relatively early in her rapidly growing career. The Bronx-bred artist has gained virality twice over - for 'Munch' and after a similar genre-straddling link up with PinkPantheress too. 'Boy’s A Liar Pt 2' showed her versatility and the marketability she posesses across demographics.

This rapid success has led to these great opportunities, and simultaneously shaped the expectations of fans. So... has Ice Spice risen too suddenly and skipped essential steps in the artist development stage? According to Cari Cole 'the process involves, vocal training, songwriting, A&R, development of sound and direction, artist persona development, image and branding, music and video production, live performance development, marketing message and career planning and strategy.'

It's clearly a wide reaching, costly and ongoing undertaking that may take time to yield the desired results. Letting it paly out publically may also make Ice Spice (dubbed The People's Princess by Dazed) feel more relatable to her fans. Denisha Kuhlor says today's artists are "very transparent about their path to fame... making fans hungry for come up stories". Could presenting an artist's development openly gain them fans who get to participate in the come up story, in real time?Is watching an artist develop publically a form of access into their story, career and world... or should fans only be presented with the 'finished article'?

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