Last week I took two of my fans out for dinner. These girls are part of #Tweam Burke which is a fan group that was set up for me literally after I left X Factor. I got wind of the group via my mum, and these guys have been with me right from the very start. It's instances like these that really make me stop and think how no matter how good the music is you put out, how many albums you have done, or all of that - that no artist would be where they were without their fans. When it's broken down into black and white these guys essentially are the most important thing to me. Taking a couple of hours out to chat to my fans over dinner like this means I will probably find out more than about what is working/what isn't than my team will find out through hours of probably quite expensive and detailed research.
I remember being so overwhelmed when I initially found out that these individuals had taken it upon themselves to create this huge support system/fan network just for me and it was all a bit much! Every time I do a show these guys are there and I remember one date I did where they bought the first two rows of the concert so they could have the best seats in the house. Now that's dedication! These guys would save all of their college money to come and see me!
These days fans go above and beyond - you only have to look at the likes of JLS, One Direction and The Wanted to fully appreciate the extent that 'fandom' as some people like to call it has really taken over. I am superclose to my fans (probably too close for it to be healthy lol) but I feel like they are this extended family of mine and they do so much for me, and there's no better form of honesty than if these guys don't like something/don't like some of my music - they won't dress it up in cotton wool - they will just tell you damn straight! They don't mess about! Lol... cue sometimes this being a bit awkward! Sometimes less is more guys ;)
I do think there is a new generation of fans that are prepared to put their life and soul into supporting that chosen artist. The last few years I think for me have certainly changed my perception on this whole 'movement', and no doubt that of label's and management who now have whole teams dedicated to ensuring that the fanbase is looked after... it's a whole other ballgame than when you were an artist 10 years ago I reckon!
Being on Twitter has been a really big thing for me - I can chat to Tweam Burke when I want, and see what the guys have been up to. It's so nice I think for an artist to perform at a gig and the first few faces you see are ones that you know are going to support you!
I am probably a bit naughty but I do sometimes do take them out for dinner without telling my management and we have something fun planned for the summer where we can all get together and I love doing things like these with them. I gave all of Tweam Burke a huge thank you in my first album and they will be getting another huge one in my second - I will always have time for my fans no matter how busy or tired I am.
Until next time... AB X