The music world has been left with a void that’s hard to fill with the sudden passing of Aaron Spears. Although I never had the chance to witness his artistry live, his music and influence have deeply resonated with me.
Aaron was not just a drummer; he was a musical savant whose talents transcended what one might expect from a “typical” musician. He had an uncanny ability to craft complex rhythms and melodies that were not just technically demanding but emotionally profound. His drumming was a language of its own, speaking to the hearts of those who listened.
Interestingly, while the artists he drummed for – names like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Usher, and Chris Brown – never quite aligned with my musical taste, Aaron’s drumming itself was a different story. His skill and artistry were so compelling that they transcended genre and personal preference, serving as an inspiration to me and countless others.
Aaron was a pioneer, always pushing the boundaries of what music could be. He was a master at blending different musical styles, creating something entirely new and groundbreaking. His work in various genres, from pop to jazz to gospel, showcased his versatility and depth as an artist.
But Aaron was more than just an extraordinary musician. He was a man filled with warmth and humor, inspiring those around him. He had the rare gift of creating an atmosphere of community and cohesion in a room full of strangers. His humility and genuine love for his craft made him not just respected, but deeply loved by his peers and fans alike.
The news of his sudden death at the age of just 47 has shaken us all.
My heart is with his family, his friends, and everyone fortunate enough to have known him or been touched by his music. His legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of those he touched and in the music he leaves behind.
Aaron will be sorely missed, but his music and influence will eternally reverberate.
Before we proceed, I want to make it abundantly clear that I fully support Ukraine in the ongoing conflict. This post may contain viewpoints that are upsetting to some, particularly my Russian fans. While I appreciate your support for my music, it’s crucial to be transparent about where I stand on this issue.
As you might know, I have a diverse fan base that spans across the globe. I’m grateful for the love and support I receive from all corners of the world. Especially strong are the Latin American countries, the Baltic region, but also Turkey, Northern Africa, Southeast Asia, Japan and – of course – Russia.
However, the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has put me in a difficult position, particularly when it comes to engaging with my Russian fans. I feel compelled to address this issue openly, as it’s something that has been weighing heavily on my mind.
Music has an unparalleled ability to bring people together, regardless of their geographical location, cultural background, or political affiliations. However, in a world increasingly divided by geopolitical conflicts – most notably the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine – I find myself grappling with a complex moral dilemma. Specifically, how do I navigate interactions with my fans from countries embroiled in such conflicts? To delve deeper into this issue, I’ve compiled a comprehensive Top 50 ranking of countries where my music is most popular, based on data from SoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple Music.
The Global Footprint of My Music: A Comprehensive Top 50 Ranking
First and foremost, I want to express my deepest gratitude to all my fans around the globe. Your unwavering support has been both humbling and inspiring. According to my multi-platform statistics, the Top 50 countries where my music is most listened to are as follows:
🇺🇸 United States
🇬🇧 United Kingdom
🇰🇷 South Korea
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates
🇨🇿 Czech Republic
🇭🇰 Hong Kong
🇨🇷 Costa Rica
Fan Support by Continent
When we consider the fan support by continent and adjust it for the total population, the list becomes even more telling:
North America (Approx. 579 million population)
Europe (Approx. 748 million population)
Asia (Approx. 4.6 billion population)
South America (Approx. 430 million population)
Africa (Approx. 1.3 billion population)
Oceania (Approx. 42 million population)
It’s interesting to note that despite Asia’s massive population, it ranks third in the list, suggesting that the per capita fan engagement is higher in North America and Europe. Similarly, Africa, with a population of around 1.3 billion, ranks lower.
Europe’s second-place ranking is particularly noteworthy given its smaller population compared to Asia. The high level of engagement from European countries speaks volumes.
The Weight of the Numbers
The presence of Russia (#3) and Ukraine (#5) in my Top 50 ranking is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it’s a testament to the universal language of music, its ability to transcend political and cultural barriers. On the other hand, it serves as a constant reminder of the ethical tightrope I walk on. Engaging with fans from countries actively involved in conflicts that have resulted in atrocities is a moral minefield.
The Fan-to-Population Ratio: A Revealing Metric
One of the most striking aspects of my fan base is the disproportionate level of support I receive from Ukraine. Despite the vast difference in population sizes, Ukraine ranks impressively high in my Top 50 list, even surpassing many larger countries. This outsized support from Ukraine is not just heartwarming; it’s a testament to the love and passion I receive from the Ukrainian people.
🇺🇦 Ukraine (5th in the ranking, 37 million population): The support from Ukraine is remarkable when you consider its population size. The country ranks impressively high on the list despite having far fewer residents than many other nations in the ranking.
🇷🇺 Russia (3rd in the ranking, 144.4 million population): Despite its large population and high ranking, there’s a discrepancy here. The per capita support from Ukraine is significantly more intense.
🇺🇸 USA (1st in the ranking, 331 million population): As the largest country on the list, it’s not surprising that the USA tops the ranking. However, in relation to its population size, the support isn’t as intense as it is from smaller countries.
This contrast adds another layer of complexity to my ethical considerations. While the sheer numbers from Russia are higher due to its larger population, the intensity of support from Ukraine is incredibly meaningful. It serves as a constant reminder of the human aspect behind the statistics and the ethical tightrope I walk on when engaging with fans from these conflicting nations.
The Harsh Reality of War
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is not merely a political issue; it’s a devastating humanitarian crisis. Reports of war crimes, including targeted attacks on civilians, forced deportations, and sexual violence, are more than just headlines – they’re a horrifying reality for countless individuals. What complicates matters further is the seeming indifference or even tacit approval of these actions by a significant portion of the Russian populace. This societal lethargy in the face of human suffering adds another layer of complexity to my dilemma.
It’s crucial to understand the gravity of the situation in Ukraine. The invasion by Russian forces has led to a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions. According to credible sources, including the International Criminal Court, there have been numerous war crimes committed, ranging from targeted attacks on civilians to mass killings, forced deportations, and sexual violence.
Over 121,000 Ukrainian children have been kidnapped and deported.
During the siege of Mariupol, thousands of residents were forcibly deported from Ukraine to Russia.
Arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances of civilians are rampant.
Attacks on civilians, including the use of cluster munitions in populated areas, have been documented.
Massacres like the one in Bucha have occurred, where hundreds of civilians were killed, some through execution.
Just to name a few.
A Balancing Act
Herein lies the essence of my moral quandary. My music enjoys popularity in the Top 50 across multiple platforms, including in countries like Russia and Ukraine, which are embroiled in a deeply troubling conflict. This presents a precarious situation: How do I reconcile the love and support I receive from Russian fans with the harsh realities of their country’s actions? How can I engage with my Ukrainian fans without appearing insensitive to the immense suffering they are enduring?
No Easy Answers
I hope this post, framed by my comprehensive Top 50 ranking, offers a nuanced perspective on the moral and ethical challenges I face. While I am profoundly grateful for the love and support from all my fans, the ongoing geopolitical crises compel me to reassess how I engage with fans from countries involved in such devastating conflicts.
In a world that’s constantly changing, where every word is dissected and every phrase analyzed, the debate over the generic masculine stands as a testament to the complexities of language and society. Words are tools, yes, but they are also more than that. They are the framework through which we interpret the world, and yet they are not the world itself. They are symbols, and like all symbols, they are subject to interpretation. Just like my music, which is mostly without lyrics. But despite that, music is a form of communication. It’s language, subject to interpretation.
The generic masculine has come under fire. Critics argue that it’s a relic, a leftover from a time when men were the default, the standard, the norm. They call for new language, inclusive language, language that reflects the diversity of human experience. But here’s the thing: language is a reflection of the mind, and the mind is where discrimination takes root. You can change the words all you want, but if the mind remains unaltered, you’ve achieved nothing. You’ve put a new coat of paint on a crumbling wall.
Before we go any further, let’s make one thing clear: the issue of gender identity is a separate matter altogether. My stance on the generic masculine should not be conflated with my views on gender identity. I am the best man to a queer couple, comprised of a trans woman and a cis woman. I understand that there are individuals who feel they were born into the wrong gender, and I respect their journey. This is not about denying the complexities of gender identity; it’s about the complexities of language and interpretation.
Equality, for me, is not just a matter of words; it’s a matter of action. It’s embedded in my daily behavior, emanating from my core beliefs. When I use the generic masculine, I do so with the full understanding that I am referring to all genders. My use of the term is not a reflection of bias or exclusion, but a linguistic choice rooted in a broader perspective of equality.
This brings me to the topic of gendered language, a subject that has become increasingly contentious. I reject the push for gendered language for two fundamental reasons. First, we already have a well-functioning language. It has evolved over centuries, shaped by countless influences, and it serves its purpose well. To dismantle it in the name of progress is to ignore the richness and complexity that make it what it is. Second, language and culture cannot be forced; they must evolve organically. You can’t dictate how people speak or think; you can only influence it. And influence is a slow, gradual process, one that takes place over generations, not overnight.
Interpretation is a tricky thing. It’s influenced by our experiences, our culture, our personal biases. When you hear the word “man,” you bring to it a lifetime of experiences that color its meaning. It’s never just a word; it’s a word seen through the lens of your life. And that lens is never neutral; it’s always weighted, always influenced by a myriad of factors that you may not even be aware of. You hear “man,” and you think “human,” encompassing both male and female. Someone else hears “man,” and they think “male.” Neither interpretation is right or wrong; they’re just different, shaped by different lives, different experiences.
And that brings us to the crux of the matter: responsibility. I can’t control how you interpret my words. I can’t control the lens through which you see the world. I can only control my own lens, my own interpretation. And for the vast majority of people, “man” means “human,” irrespective of gender. When I use the generic masculine, I do so with the understanding that it includes everyone, not just one sex or gender. I don’t intend to discriminate or to exclude. But I also can’t be responsible for how you interpret my words. That’s your responsibility, shaped by your lens, your life.
So where does that leave us? It leaves us with a choice. We can focus on the words, dissect them, analyze them, change them. Or we can focus on the real issue: the mind. Changing the words without changing the mind achieves nothing. It’s a superficial solution to a deep-rooted problem. But change the mind, and the words will follow naturally. They’ll become what they were always meant to be: tools to communicate, not the final destination.