Area/disambiguation question

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I have an artist…
Born in Finland. Moved (his words) with his parents to the USA at the age of 5.
Never became a US citizen. Has gone to Finland every year for at least 3 months (which is usually a legal thing for taxes/citizenship/residency) for over 50 years. Went to school in Finland (during those 3 months). Served in the Finnish Army.

Has been in one band for 35 years. It was based in the USA. In fact, he was a founding member, lead singer and chief (and eventually only) songwriter. By the end of the 35 years, he was the only original member left.

Here’s where its gets more interesting:
The band was largely ignored in America, but did well in various European countries. Therefore, they focused their attentions there - with larger/longer tours and publicity events.

I always considered him an American musician, even though I knew the band had larger following elsewhere. But, I recently read an interview finding out the information in the first paragraph. So that raises the question -

Do I disambiguate him as “US singer”? With an area of US?
Or is he a Finnish singer with an area of the UK. Or some combination of both?
There is already a Finnish singer with the same name, also born in the same city. But that one is definitely a Finn. There was no continental travel.


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You could say something like “Finnish singer based in US.” If he was a lawful permanent resident of the US (a.k.a. green card holder) you could say “Finnish-American singer.”


I’ve used something like “Canadian-born musician based in the US” for a similar case where I didn’t know the person’s actual citizenship.

I’d go with “Finnish-American” or “Finno-American” here - I don’t think that’s only correct for legal citizens. It’s shorter and “based in America” is not 100% correct here either.

I’d put United States in the main area field.

Where is the UK coming from? You didn’t mention anything about UK before.

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I’ve done that too, but for cases when someone is definitely in the US. In this case, he is more like a permanent visitor. We wouldn’t really call John Lennon a US musician or that he was based in the US.
But, like I said, it was only recently that I came across the interview about that information. I always considered him a US musician.

*note: For those with less knowledge of pop culture, John Lennon was a member of The Beatles. He eventually moved to New York City.

Because of the area(s) that the band is popular in. UK is not set in stone, it was just tossed out there as an example.

The “person” and the “band” are clearly different entities and can have different nationalities. Like the John Lennon example mentioned.

What does he think he is? If he calls himself Finnish, then set him as Finnish. Especially as he has been making the effort to stay qualified as Finnish with the annual visits.

Set his area as Europe if that is where he works successfully.

When at a gig in Germany watching this band, would I be watching an American band? I guess so. Seems sensible to call the band American if those of us in Europe look at them as “American”.

Are their records released on a US or European label? That would also show which way to lean this.

I don’t think he should be American or Finnish American just because he lived there for years. Especially with that extra effort being made to go home every year.

Its the fun of us all living on this planet together. We are who we want to be. Just them pesky databases come along and want to jam you in a box again. :smiley:

I would disambigurate him with his band name.

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He might not have a choice. If he can’t get the US citizenship and doesn’t visit Finland for 3 months a year he’ll soon be without any citizenship.

Not an area I know large amounts about. I thought people got deported when a country was bored of 'em? Or at least suppose to leave when a visa runs out?

My reply was just a “common sense from my head” thought if I had been a fan of the band.

I think this makes him less American that he was having to make that regular journey. Though I guess touring in Europe simplified that. If he was on a six month tour of Europe would he still have to go to Finland for three months? Or was that enough of a break to keep the USA laws happy? Or was he returning to keep Finnish laws happy?

If he had been in the USA for 35 years but never applied for citizenship I think that points a lot towards who he thinks he is.

Curious - does MB have the ability to handle people with dual citizenship? Some people who have two passports.

For disambiguation purposes, I don’t think we really need to delve into citizenship. We’re not adding structured data, just a hint to determine if this John Smith (or maybe Tauro Tavallinen) is different from another of the same name.

Referencing the band name, as IvanDobsky suggested upthread, could be useful.

As far as the area, I’d say either United States or leave it blank. No great harm in leaving it blank.

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MusicBrainz does not have a way of handling citizenship at all; single, dual, triple, or what-not.

The “Area” field is for the area an artist is associated with, which most of the time is probably (one of country states) where they hold citizenship, but it doesn’t have to be.

For this particular case, I’d say it’s fine to put this artist’s Area as United States since that is where it sounds like he has spent most hours of his life and when you think of him, you think “American”. If he doesn’t promote that he’s Finnish normally, then I’d argue that that’s not “the area with which [the] artist is primarily identified with.”

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I only brought up his citizenship because it plays into the rest of the situation - I always considered him “an American musician”. Yet, he seems to not be American at all, other than keeping an apartment down on 5th and Vine.
But, at the same time, for the first 13 years (from age 5 to age 18), he was under the control of his parents. They started the 3 month travel. So, for whatever reason, they also never intended on becoming citizens either.
Becoming a musician, being able to travel the world, that just makes life easier. He couldn’t keep an office job if he needed to leave the country for 3 months every year.

I thought you said at the start that your intention was to disambiguate him in MBz? A characteristic which is unclear to you and probably also unclear to users of the data is not going to do a good job as a disambiguator. If what he is know for is his membership of some band, then a more appropriate disambiguation comment would be “member of Some Band”.


Good point.
But I also was looking for “Area”.

And, as always, all information gathered can be applied to other editing.