Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Floor Jansen Writes Open Letter To Fans, Is Not An "Arrogant Bitch"


Saw this on Blabbermouth and I have some mixed feelings about this, but then again I don't know what situation prompted her to do this. Floor Jansen of Nightwish & ReVamp penned an open letter to her fans amid a tour with ReVamp in South America regarding something (or a number of things) that must have happened (or are happening frequently) down there at one of their shows.

From the sounds of it, involved a disgruntled fan who probably waited outside to catch her after the show and say hi and wasn't happy when she ran inside her tour bus to avoid talking to him/her. Perhaps she's had problems with people trying to grope her during meet-and-greets. Again, I'm not 100% on what specific instances this is actually referring to, but here is what Ms Jansen wrote:

Dear fans,

"After nightmares and many worried thoughts, I decided to write this letter in reaction to the negative messages that are going around about me on the Internet. Messages that hurt me very much because they're either not true or they are based on the interpretation of a person with different expectations. I feel the need to explain myself to hopefully stop the negative reactions.

"I am a humble person. Happy with what I am doing and grateful for all the support.

"When I have the opportunity to meet fans that support me, I always try to do so. However, sometimes it's not possible to meet. This is not because I don't want to, but more because time or energy doesn't allow it. It's nothing personal.

"Next to this, I must stress out that my reason of being on tour is to play good shows! Meeting fans and taking pictures is an extra I would like to offer when time and energy allow it. It's not something a fan can presume to have…

"If I meet people and I ask not to touch me, this again is nothing personal. I don't like it. Some people (in general) are more physical than others and I am not comfortable with touching strangers or being grabbed. There are dozens of people every day who want this and I try to politely tell people not to touch. It's a personal boundary I ask people to respect. If you're a fan, you should be able to respect this.

"During the first show in Brazil, I almost tumbled over on stage because I lost my balance at the moment more than a 100 people at the same time used their flash on their photo cameras. I asked people to stop using flash because of that, in a nice way… I had to repeat this request a few times. I am not asking it to nag about something….only because we as a band cannot do the show well with it.

"I am asking for understanding and respect. I'm sad that some people got mad and called me a diva for it.

"Filming during shows is not allowed. But everyone does it, so it almost became normal.

"If you, as a fan of us, want to film something of the show, I think you should do that. But if you want to film the entire show, I must say no. I also say no to people who film on stage, with the camera too close. It's intimidating and distracting and the person holding it is not rocking along with us, he or she is just standing there, focusing on making a bootleg.

"Is that support for a band? Is that having a great time?

"It would please all of us on stage if the focus is more on the moment and not on making pictures and films for later or Internet.

"Now, I hope I have been able to explain why some things are the way they are. And that I love touring, making music, doing shows and meeting fans.

"I am not an arrogant bitch But if you think that I am, based on a brief moment, because you got disappointed and I was not able to meet your expectations, I ask you to reconsider these expectations and to look at the same situation again, also a bit through my eyes. I try to understand you as well. I understand you waited and want a moment with me. That is why I do my best to meet people as much as possible (for example: meet-and-greets every day and photos and autographs with everyone who comes to the hotels and airport). I also try to include our fans into our world by making tour reports. I spend hours on making them. For you!

"So, I hope tonight I can sleep better knowing I told you this. Asking for mutual understanding and respect."

She covers quite a bit there, and a lot of it I can totally understand.

On the other hand, I think she is being a little oversensitive at the same time, which is again totally okay and it happens to the best of us when we have a lot going on.

First off, the main thing that bothers me is her "I don't like to be touched" thing. It's one thing if fans are groping you or being inappropriate - that's never okay and she would have every right to demand not to be touched for the rest of the event or whatever.

However, if she seriously expects to be a successful singer in a successful band that people like and respect, you just can't go all Avril Lavinge and make all touching a no-no. Yeah, there are some sleazers out there, but you can typically spot them without much effort and chances are you're in a very safe place and not in some alleyway all by yourself. If something happens you don't like, not only can you stop it right there, you can press charges. We, as human beings, must all endure each other only a daily basis. Sometimes well-meant yet unwanted touches or hugs are an unavoidable part of life. The rest of us grin and bear it.

Give your fans a damn hug, for fuck's sake. I promise, you will not have your energy zapped away by shaking a few hands and giving a few friendly hugs.

So, yes, Floor Jansen, that does make you come off as kinda unapproachable - or as a "bitch" as the not-as-well-versed would put it. I'm sure you're a wonderful person and not a bitch at all, but can you see where that comes off as "bitchy"?

Mind you, I say this as someone who has been victimized by violence in the past... there is nothing wrong with giving someone who admires you a little hug, even if it makes you a little uncomfortable. You may actually find it makes you feel better.

Second, she mentions that she "lost her balance" when a bunch of flashes went off at the same time. Again, I can see where this angers her because I know that's a big distraction.

However, this is something that comes along with what she's chosen to do, and the fact that so many people are wanting to take her picture should be flattering and motivating for her. There are ways to hone your focus through meditation and things like that so that it doesn't affect you as much.

If she's wanting to become a well-known vocalist in a well-known band, there are only going to be more and more pictures taken of her. It can't always be totally under your control, it won't always be flattering, but it's going to happen whether you say anything about it or no - and if you do say something, you come off as (you guessed it) a "bitch".

That's not how it should be, but that's how it is, sister. Just be realistic and don't take it as a malicious attempt to make you mess up. It's just a bunch of people that love your band, love your performance, and want to have something to remember it by.

If you simply must say something about too much flash, say it in a joking and lighthearted way. "So many flash bulbs were going off just now! Feels like I'm tumbling down a rabbit hole!" or something like that would work. Any other way and you turn your show into a lecture... and in the end, nothing you can say really changes anything.

I understand wholeheartedly when she says she just doesn't have the energy for people. We all can get like that sometimes, and being an introvert I'm very familiar with how majorly your energy level depletes when you're around others.

Unfortunately, I must say that if she finds herself having to set all these parameters to be able to function, perhaps she should consider whether singing in this capacity is what she really wants (or is able) to do.

There are some realistic restrictions you can place around yourself to be comfortable on tour, but these just aren't, and I think that is where the animosity is coming from on the fan-end. I understand both sides, I think, but I just can't bring myself to fully sympathize with her. She expects too much, albeit for totally valid reasons.

She closes by saying she believes she can't live up to her fans' expectations.

Really though, it is she who has set her expectations of her fans too high.

Still love you, Floor. Sorry you have to deal with bullshit from people, but so do we all. Be happy you can enjoy the pains of your success. I hope everything works out.

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