Is music just a hobbie or it is a career?
At times I wonder if music today is just another hobby that people do when they bored. I mean, the way it lacks inspiration is absolutely shocking. I find myself watching cartoons, movies or series instead of listening to music. Old Skool can get tiring sometimes. We have listened to the same artists for decades; it is time for something new.
I have found myself asking this question: what went wrong with artists and music?
I have researched and looked at various artists around the world. Looked at countries not influenced by the number one destroyer of music…the MTV! Shocker? Yes I am as shocked as you. MTV is the biggest Music Channel around the world. They influence trends in the industry. MTV assisted by Programmers on radio and TV stations in destroying music. Now who am I to tackle such a beast? I am a father, a citizen and a human being.
From childhood music communicated hope in hopeless circumstances! It inspired me as a child to dream! Comparing to my childhood to where I am today and what I have achieved, its influence can be clearly witnessed. Ability for music to produce a certain type of society or generation is something phenomenal and also missing in today’s artists.
Back in the day music produced a generation that went on to achieve the unthinkable! Surviving the ages of wars and civil unrest songs were at the center of survival. When you listen to songs created in those eras, they resembled hope, resiliency and activism. Not to say there was no dance music back then. Not to say there were no useless songs. But such songs were far and few in between. Music was a tool used to talk to people and the message passed on was critical, inspiring and building. Quality of the lyrics was the standard measure of whether the song will make it or not! Up until the late ‘90s lyrical content was everything in artists.
Generations and Music
I believe that Music should change to suit a particular era. Things change; they do not stay the same and should not stay the same. It serves as a biggest reflection of generations. Generations and Music influence each other. Paging through history you will realize that songs during World Wars mainly focused on easing the pain people went through as well as calling for world peace. In South Africa during Apartheid music was the biggest tool used to fight injustices. Artists of that era are well decorated icons even today. These individuals used their craft to influence positive social change while walking people through the hurt of an unjust system.
The ‘90s saw a generation that was dealing with the aftermath of wars and apartheid. That Generation dealt with broken families. This created street life which saw a rise of Street Hiphop. While dealing with the pain of a broken family, Slow Jams/Soul Music walked you through that pain and communicated hope. The 2000s we saw a rise of a generation that do not care and feel entitled. The culture of rebelliousness became prominent. Potentially this the worst music era in all eras of music. I mean artists are self-centered and lack lyrical content. The world is undergoing measure challenges, today’s artists are too busy looking themselves in the mirror for the next selfie on Instagram!
The importance of Lyrics
The prominence of house music has totally robbed us of rich lyrical content. I cannot fully describe to you the importance of lyrics in a song. My favorite book tells me that with words God created all that we see. Out of His mouth came the light, the moon and stars above. This book also tells me that words became life to the world. So how important are words in a song? My favorite book tells me that I am created in God’s image and so like God my mouth creates!
Writing lyrics has to be the most important thing for any artist, because they are creating something in this universe. Lyrics can give life or destroy a life. Music producers and Music Programmers have failed to understand the importance of their role in the society. Why do music producers such as Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and many more legends are highly respected in the world today? They were the gatekeepers in the industry. Out of their dedication we were blessed with talent such as Baby Face, Toni Braxton. In South Africa we were blessed with Miriam Makeba, Yvone Chacka Chacka, Hugh Masekela and many more. Lyrics form life or death like words coming out of our mouths.
What do we need to fix
My appeal to industry leaders: let us turn it around people. We have talent in John Legend, Alicia Keys, Black Coffee, Lira, Zonke Dikana. Music Profilers and Producers can we play our roles as leaders in the community and start leading artists and fans into a path of recovery. Can we stop listening to the beat and start listening to the rest of the song? The beat is only but part of the song. The beat is only 25% of the song. Can we look at the other 30% presentation of the song and 45% lyrical content?
Is it possible for artists today to inspire a generation and walk them through the pain of economic meltdown, nuclear war threats and water crisis?