When the Researcher is a Fan: Methodological Points on Carrying Out Research into Your Favourite Artist

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In many cases, fandom feelings are an important reason why popular music researchers carry out projects into their favourite artists. While doing it, they get into situations where the fan needs to face his or her own feelings in order to have a desirable critical view on the subject and express impartiality. Dialoguing with existent literature, studying historical moments, finding primary sources and having contacts with the artist himself or herself may generate confrontation between the musicologist and the fan… Based on the personal experience of working on the works of Brazilian songwriter and musician Marcos Valle; the researcher being a longtime fan of his, this paper discusses some issues based on fandom in the pop music scene and on some cultural aspects of Brazil (the dialectics of passion and reason, the artists’ points of view on audiences and fans, and the local media and music industry interventions) to illustrate methodological difficulties caused by the influence of fandom feelings on the popular music researcher’s work.

Alexei Michailowsky, UNIRIO, Brazil