There’s not many things that grow overnight. When we were young, we’d sometimes assist our parents in the springtime when they were the planting the garden in front of our house. We wouldn’t actually be doing much, mostly observing our parents as they do all the work, while playing in the grass and chasing bugs around the yard.
But sometimes they’d entrust us with one flower, and we’d plant it ourselves. Or rather, physically plop it into the ground and let them bury it for us. The flower would be tiny, and we’d have crazy expectations that by next morning, it would blossom into a fully fledged, colorful plant. Or maybe even a beanstalk. Again, we’re young and stupid, er, I mean… naive.
Of course, it’s only lending ourselves to disappointment when we’d see that the flower hasn’t grown at all, because we don’t the understand the process of photosynthesis. Or even worse, the flower might have died.
And that’s a lesson we learn when we’re young — things don’t suddenly happen overnight. Life is a process.
Except with teeny bop stars, apparently.
That was quite a long analogy to make my point, but I think it was needed to fully register my amazement about how I could go from not knowing about someone’s existence one night, to suddenly hearing their name everywhere the next. It basically happened with Justin Bieber back in 2009, and it’s happening with others now.
About a month ago, I had absolutely no idea who Ariana Grande was. I think when I first heard the name, I thought she was some type of important fashion designer like Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. Even now, I still have no idea if her last name is pronounced “Grand,” “Grond,” or “Gron-day.”
As of this evening, she has more than 12 million followers on Twitter, and is embarking on a worldwide tour promoting her recent album, “Yours Truly.” I’ve heard her sing a couple of times live on television — I believe during the Video Music Awards and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting — and she sounds like she has talent, and another important factor is that she looks good. She’s 20 years old so it’s not quite outlandish for me to comment on her physical appearance, so don’t get all Chris Hansen on me here.
Basically, she’s Selena Gomez with a little more talent, though with 5 million less Twitter followers.
Another name I only learned — who I probably never needed to know about — is Austin Mahone. He’s 17 years old, and by all accounts is the next Justin Bieber. He physically looks like a carbon copy of him when he was that age — like a mop resides on his head instead of hair.
He hasn’t quite reached Ariana Grande-level popularity on Twitter, but he has a modest 4.9 million followers. And according to Spotify, his most popular song at the moment is called “Banga! Banga!”
Again, it’s well out of my target age range, but by all accounts, he’s the next big thing.
And finally, on New Year’s Eve, I saw a name trending nationally on Twitter who I had never heard of — Victoria Justice. A quick Internet search told me she’s a former Nickelodeon star, is now a singer, and also 20. And like Ariana Grande, she is attractive. She’s also on the cusp of 7 million Twitter followers.
Combined, these three young’uns — who’s accumulative ages does not surpass that of Robin Williams — have more than 24 million followers on Twitter, many of whom probably overlap. That alone indicates their popularity, and yet, for all intents and purposes, they didn’t exist until a few months ago.
The lesson here is that teenagers need to stop being so easily influenced. Instead of waiting for a trendy solo act with a pretty face and overactive Twitter page to emerge, why not spend more time listening to young musicians who really have something to offer? Unfortunately, there’s really talented people out there who have to wait years, sometimes decades, to get their due. And that’s because they didn’t get showcased by the right people, or never had their own show on Nick Jr.
So while that sunflower you planted 20 years ago failed to grow overnight, needn’t worry, because the Ariana Grandes, Austin Mahones and Victoria Justices of the world are defying the natural order the universe all on their own.