Music has been evolving for years. It’s a universal language and form of expression, it's the heartbeat of the world. Over time genres have been blended, and new ones have been created. My favorite eras were Motown and Rock and Roll. The sound of The Delfonics playing from your parent’s kitchen on a Sunday night was a regular thing in the 1960s. Rock and Roll, which is a mixture of African American genres like the blues, with a side of Country Swing, became a major movement. These days it's hard to recognize who you're listening to at times. There is so much crossover in music, it now almost defies definition and boundaries. As we celebrate Black Music Month, I came up with my list of the ways music has changed over time.
1. Music has become major part of the media industry. It’s become the norm to incorporate musical activities on late night shows. TV hosts like James Corden and Jimmy Fallon, are known for their sing alongs and celebrity car karaoke. There are also shows like The Voice, American Idol, Nashville and Empire that are centered on the music industry. Music is such a dominant aspect of all media- it’s safe to say it’s role is only going to continue to grow.
2. In the 1960s, 1970s, etc. there was no such thing as auto tune or any other instruments to help enhance your voice. When you sang live back in the day- what you heard was the real deal. When Patti Labelle belted out those high notes- you knew that was really her hitting it! Nowadays, you have tools that can elevate your voice to make it sound good. In other words, technology can make the worst singer sound like the best singer. Will the real singer please stand up?
3. There is an easier and faster way to get discovered in today’s music scene vs. back then. Thank your social media craze for the leg up. Wanna be artists now have any number of ways to showcase their talent. YouTube, Instagram for music, Itunes, Sound Cloud, and more. Gone are the days selling CDs from your car or going door to door with your demo tape. All you need is the right song, on the right platform, at the right time.
4. The music industry standards have changed. For example, Michel Jackson, Prince, Aretha Franklin, and other top artists set the bar pretty high in my opinion. They made a name for themselves and became legends in their own right. Their natural ability and hard work was evident. In today’s music, what drives sales and therefore determines what is "great" in the industry, isn't always talent. Social media following and viral videos go further in leading to stardom than vocal ability.
5. Music is a way of expressing yourself without having to speak. If you’re boyfriend broke your heart- there’s song for that. If you’re madly in love- there’s a song for that. If you want to tune out the world- there’s a million songs for that. What we have today that wasn’t present back then, is an infinite amount of songs! If you’re going through something - anything, you’ll be able to find a song that will get you through it. Music can be that best friend because there is a song that speaks to every situation and mood.
In the words of Plato, “Music gives the soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything”.