There is so much music in the world that it is hard to embrace new artist and new music all the time. However, there are times when you will hear a song somewhere or witness an artist in a music video and you find that you are instantly hooked, and there are those situations when you are just simply not open to experiencing anything new. I picked five artists, from various phases of my life and describe the 5 reasons I initially was not open to experiencing their music.
1. Loyalty: Aretha Franklin (Feud Between Aretha Franklin & Natalie Cole) Allegedly
Back in , when I was just discovering the work of Aretha Franklin, I used to over hear the disc jockeys on the radio make comparisons about this Natalie Cole lady that I haven’t invested too much attention towards yet. For some odd reason I became to worry for Aretha that her title as the Queen Of Soul was under siege. So here I am, this eight year old taking a position on which female soul artist is the best between; the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin or this new artist named Natalie Cole. However, I was not able to disregard her music for much longer due to a beautiful love song called “Our Love“, that really caught my imagination because from up to that point, I had never heard a song with the type of intimacy that Miss Cole injected into her music before. It was at the age of eight that I first learned that it was ok if I admired another singers’ gift and don’t let unhealthy loyalty stop you from experiences.
2. Ability: Billie Holiday (I Don’t See Why This Lady Is Famous)
In my early twenties I began to explore the Jazz genre, and an artist and album that used to get a lot of mentions in print articles was Billie Holiday and her 1958 album Lady In Satin. Singers from Frank Sinatra to Marvin Gaye was hailing this album as the best thing since maple syrup and pancakes. I bought the Lady In Satin CD, rushed home to place it in the player and let me tell you when I heard those off key notes and her damage vocals all I remember saying was “Why is this lady famous?, I don’t understand, because she is singing totally off key”. I was very confused with the high ranking that this album was given by those two respected singers; Frank Sinatra and Marvin Gaye. Then I had the big relationship fight where the emotions and feeling get hurt and we play music to sooth the blow and my aching heart said listen to Lady In Satin again. This time around I could stop playing the record, because it was at that moment I realized that singing was not always about hitting perfect notes and singing with clarity, great singing is also about deep feeling, raw feeling that pierces the listeners straight in the heart.
3. Techniques: Thelonious Monk (Hey! Wait! What Are You Doing?)
Thelonious Monk was the first instrumentalist that I encountered that made my head spin because we was shattering all of the music rules that I heard up to that point. My initial response to Monk’s playing was “Why is he famous because he is hitting all these wrong notes“. However, after a blunt session, Monk’s quirky chord structure and affinity for note in between notes began to make sense.
4. Ego: Massive Attack (Oh They Sound Ok)
Sometime our egos hinder us from experiencing new things, for example I almost missed out on the band Massive Attack because when a friend was sharing the band’s second album Protection I was totally in resist mode and acting all nonchalant because I wanted to be the “only” cool guy out there discovering the cool bands. However, secretly, I was blown away with Massive Attack’s production skills and put my pride aside and thanked my friend for introducing me to Massive Attack.
5. New Original Sounds: Jamiroquai (You Sound Like Stevie Wonder)