There are a lot of seriously rewarding parts to being a loyal fan, and my personal New Year’s Eve experience brought these to the front of my mind. I had the honor of seeing Jacob Whitesides live for the fifth time and the privilege of meeting him for the second time. He is one of my favorite artists and fortunately one that I’ve seen the most. After my incredible New Year’s, I compiled a list of rewards you receive for being a loyal fan
1. Watching Your Favorite Artists Grow Up
The way you first discover an artist is far from who they’ll be a few years down the road. Whether you first discover them as an opening act at a show you almost didn’t go to, or by a cover on Youtube, as a loyal fan, you’ll probably get to watch them grow up. This is most notable in younger artists. Old fans have watched so many teenage stars grow up into actual adults. As a fan, you get to witness all the bumps in the road, whether that includes getting arrested a few times or leaving their bandmates behind to pursue a solo career, loyal fans are there for all the ups and downs. Sometimes you even have the honor of listening to their voices change as they officially join the dark side of adulthood. From all of the haircuts (good and bad) to the loss of their baby face, loyal fandom allows you to watch your favorite artists grow up as if you were actually their mother and it is an absolute honor.
2. Listening To Them Find Their Sound
Some artists are born knowing what kind of music they want to make, while others take their fans on a multi-genre journey to find themselves. I could give you a personal recap of the 8 times each of my favorite artists completely switched directions, but I don’t think we have the time. The point is that as a loyal fan, you sometimes have to stick it out through some cringe-worthy phases because you know their incredible talent will bring them back to where they belong. Not everyone is a singer/songwriter, but not everyone is a rapper either. When you find an artist early, you get to watch them explore and try it all. Most importantly though, you get to see the contentment in their eyes when they finally make the kind of music they should have been making all along.
3. You Get To Grow With Your Favorite Artists
We’ve talked about getting to watch our favorite artists grow, but we actually get to grow with them. Chances are, if you’re a serious fan, you remember what you were doing when your favorite artists hit big milestones and vice versa. You’ll remember what classes you had when you plugged in your headphones to blast their newest album instead and you’ll remember that you were sleep deprived the day after you saw them in concert for the first time. Chances are you might even know where they were on tour the day you got your license or which music video they released the day you had your first kiss. Your life starts to morph with the life of your fave as you grow up together.
4. Watching The Fanbase Grow And Change
It’s an amazing feeling to see an artist in concert for the first time and come back to see them again with seven times as many people. That’s the kind of thing that happens as a loyal fan. As their popularity blossoms and diminishes, you get to watch it all happen (and you get to say that you were there the whole time). New fans come and go and the dynamic of online fandoms change, but your mission will always remain the same whether you’re one of 60 or one of 7 million. You just want to see your favorite artist making music and living their dreams. It’s such a great and unique feeling to see the artists you love start to get recognized for the talent you saw in them from the beginning.
5. Sometimes You Get Second Chances
The first time I saw and met Jacob Whitesides was in July 2014. He was pretty awkward on stage and with meeting people. In contrast, I was so awkward that I don’t even think I formed a real sentence in the time we were together. He literally had to shake me by the shoulders just to get words to come out of my mouth. In retrospect, it was kind of a disaster. Fast forward two and a half years and Jacob is totally at ease in front of thousands of people and I’ve made some improvements too. When I met him New Year’s Eve we had an actual conversation containing actual full sentences. He didn’t even have to shake the words out of me. If I hadn’t stuck around, I never would have gotten a second chance.
6. You Could Write Their Biography For Them
Forget Google and Wikipedia. If any of your friends or family have a question about your favorite artists, they need to look no further than where you’re standing. You’ve been supporting them so long you know everything from birthdays, to heights, to their entire discography. Someone wants to know where your favorite is touring next month? You already know. No Googling necessary.
7. Building A Relationship With The Artist
This is much easier for smaller artists, but possible for any. When you support an artist from early on and keep up with them consistently, they start to recognize you. Whether that comes in the form of follows on Instagram and Twitter, conversations in person, or your favorite artist being able to pick you out of a crowd, it’s such a rewarding feeling to be recognized for all of your endless support. I’ve had artists ask me if I’m coming to their shows when they come near me. It’s 100% possible to reach a point where an artist is as excited to see you when they’re in town as you are to see them. Loyal fans are a rewarding part of their job. It doesn’t matter who you are. Familiar faces are always comforting as you’re traveling the world and meeting strangers on a daily basis.
8. You Know You Helped Get Them Where They Are
You’ve bought the music. You’ve bought the merch. You’ve been to their shows. You’ve shared their content on social media. You were the crazy fan in the audience who knew every word to every song. When they thank their fans for their support and everything they do, you can’t help but take it personally. You were a small piece on their journey to success. You may not be able to put it on your resume, but it feels just as good as something you can.