i am a self-proclaimed musical variety pack… i love so many genres of music- soul, funk, hip-hop, pop, jazz, latin music, rock, classical, blues, even country (they tell some good stories)! i think it’s interesting that as our world becomes more and more connected and accepting of diversity, more people are branching out to embrace other genres of music.
i remember being in 4th grade and in music class our teacher asked us what radio station we listened to and the class was divided in half… most of the white kids primarily listened to G105 (top 40 pop/rock station), and most of the black kids primarily listened to K97.5 (r&b, “urban”-i hate that term- station). when i told the class that i listened to 97.5, the kids were all shocked. that was one of my first experiences of segregation in music…. at 14, i remember my boyfriend’s friend making fun of me for wanting to sing r&b music because i wasn’t black.. that was right before Christina Aguilera came out (another 1/2 caucasion, 1/2 latina) singing r&b/pop music. people box each other in by what kind of music they listen to or as musicians we box each other in by what kind of music we play. why does it have to be that way? we live in an eclectic world and we can express our musical diversity in a cohesive and musically tasteful way…. my band is super versatile- they can rock all genres of music. they have played with jazz, latin, reggae, soul and pop… superstars!!
i think that sometimes industry people have a hard time figuring out how they can market me because i blend so many flavors into my music. but i say F*CK DEMOGRAPHICS… just make music that sounds good and feels good and has truth and it will resonate. TRANSCEND DEMOGRAPHICS. when i was in the studio recording last week with KRS ONE, he brought up the subject and how the label will ask him what group of people this record will speak to…. whether it will be targeted towards hip-hop lovers or reggae enthusiasts… i encouraged him to think beyond the boxing in…. why not appeal to both? and he understood what i meant, let’s not sell our audiences short… but it still goes back to the business side, the industry folks being visionaries and taking risks. and when you look at the state of music that isn’t happening. everything is safe. calculated. formulaic. dead.
i look forward to the day when the music industry will not be so focused on how to market to a specific demographic as if the music is a brand of alcohol. but let the music be free to connect with whom it resonates with…. i look at an artist like lauryn hill, or classic artists like bob marley, aretha franklin, etc. etc. and how they transcended being boxed in to only attaining fans from a certain age group, race, or socioeconomic background. their music possesses a truth and authenticity that goes beyond, that hits you at your core.
i think the next trend in music is integrating these various worldly influences and genres into our sound as we are becoming more globally influenced. i wonder how long it will take for the music industry to catch on….