Across the globe, esteemed musical artists are regular faced with ‘superfans.’ In 2000 American rapper Eminem released his hit single Stan, a song which told the story of a fan’s dangerous obsession with his musical idol. Since then the word ‘stan’ has found its way into the Oxford English dictionary.
To put it plainly, a stan is “an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity” which is a worryingly accurate description of modern music obsessives. We take a look at some of the strange, bizarre and outright weird ways that our favourite musicians are idolised and worshipped by stans.
Eminem’s 2000 hit Stan inadvertently coined a new phrase for fans with worrying levels of obsession for their favourite artists.
Consuming everything associated with their hero
Historically, a music lover’s devotion to their favourite artist could be gauged by their willingness to queue up in the wind and rain for an autograph or by their extensive collection of back catalogues and B-sides. Nowadays, a fans devotion stretches much further than their album collection or the number of gigs they’ve been to. Stans now look to incorporate their favourite musicians into every aspect of their lives.
While some fans may go as far as spending £360 and six hours getting a tattoo of the a singer, others will happily settle with something less extreme. Musician’s have been giving permission to developers looking to feature the artists image or music in their games for years. The likes of Guitar Hero and The Sims have featured many notable celebrities, which has helped bring in new players.
A musician’s influence over attracting new audiences to gaming platforms has trickled into the online gambling scene. Many platforms have curated niche games that are tailored for specific fans. Popular gambling sites like 888 Casino have taken the image of big-name artists like Jimi Hendrix and Motorhead and their most notable songs as you’ll see when you visit their site to play online slots.
For fans, spinning the reels of standard slots isn’t enough. They want to do it to the backdrop of All along the Watchtower or Stone Dead Forever as a way to get as close to the artist as possible.
Turning adoration into a vocation
Loving your favourite musician can be a part-time pursuit, something that you do in your spare time, or it can be a full-time endeavour. Take the example of Crone (as she is known online) who, a 71-year-old Calvin Harris stan.
Crone’s love for the Scottish DJ had her spending hours trawling through his social accounts. From here, she witnessed first-hand the rift between Taylor Swift stans (Swifties) and Calvin Harris stans when the pair’s relationship ended.
The superfan found herself becoming increasingly defensive of Harris and, in response to the attacks from the Swifites, started a blog to defend him.Since Crone set up her blog, she has kept it updated regularly at the same time as creating two Tumblr accounts, which she calls ‘digital scrapbooks’ of Calvin Harris’ life and career. Crone sees it as the natural evolution of the scrapbooking that she used to do of The Beatles way back in the 1960s. To many though, her online activity could be seen as stanning way too hard.
The break up between Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift sparked an online stan war that inspired Crone to create her own Calvin Harris blog
Mimicking their idols
Anecdotally, everyone is familiar with the story of the kid in school who adopted the hairstyle of their favourite singer or sports star. For some adult stans the devotion doesn’t stop there though.
Take Brit Oli London for example, who spent just under £125,000 on plastic surgery to look like his favourite singer Jimin, from the Korean boyband BTS.
Oli, who first fell in love with BTS when living in Korea had a series of surgeries including rhinoplasty, alarplasty and having his jaw chiselled down to turn himself into the ultimate Jimin tribute.
His surgeries have caused controversy surrounding cultural appropriation and excessive obsessions with Jimin, but Oli claims that he has never been happier than with his new look.
His transformation has also helped to kickstart a burgeoining career in the music industry for Oli, who released his own K-Pop song last year ‘Christmas in Korea’.
Oli London’s plastic surgery odyssey gave him the profile he needed to kickstart his own K-Pop career.
Volunteering for their idols
The music industry has never been harder to crack than it is right now, with many aspiring artists having to work two jobs to support their musical ambitions. Streaming sites like Spotify and illegal downloads have made it increasingly difficult for artists to make money.
Many musicians therefore rely on the goodwill of high-profile peers, critics or radio hosts to spread the word of their great songs.
Fortunately for a select few like Nicki Minaj, they have their own free promoters. Nicholas Liddle is a music journalist who seriously stans for the Starships singer.
He runs a fan handle with nearly 19,000 followers and dedicates almost all of his free time to promoting Minaj’s music. Liddle using the power of his following and streaming parties to get the singer’s music as high in the charts as possible.
Recently his efforts were rewarded as he was offered the opportunity to chat with Minaj in an interview before being sent a $900 Fendi T-shirt and a personalised letter from the artist as a thank you.