By Hans Ebert

Ray Charles singing, “I Got A Woman” was playing in the background while speaking on the phone to a friend in Tokyo.

Being so intoxicated by this track, I held my phone up so he could listen to it- and he knows his music- and then mentioned what a pity it is that so much of this truly legendary music by such an incredible artist is lost on so many today who claim to be musicians.

Maybe this is only one of the reasons why so many of the “hottest” tracks today have such an army of credits including a shout out to the tea boy? Teamwork? More often than not for a percentage of Royalties.

This moment in time reminded me of two friends trying to make music, but finding it difficult to find the right, well, team. Watching the American Music Awards the next day, I honestly found it difficult to distinguish the sounds/hits of one artist from the next.

Everything was formulaic- two verses, chorus, the obligatory rap, back to big chorus with key change, back to the rap…and? Well, more of the same. Then again, I’m hardly the audience for this American music industry showpiece. And nor am I American.

When they appeared. I asked my friend what she thought of the recent hit and new cover band staple “Señorita”. Corny and trying to sell a contrived onstage love affair between Shawn Mendes and Camilla Cabello was the gist of her answer.

Though a 37 year old barrister, she knows and loves music- and everything that’s brought us from back there to here (and hear) today. That’s what first attracted us to each other: Music was our common uncommon bond and music is what “sealed the deal”.

Any 37 year old who knows the Best Of Tin Pan Alley and reminds me that Hoagy Carmichael wrote a song called “Hong Kong Blues” which George Harrison covered is someone who doesn’t come along every day.

Like an ex, who made me fall in love all over again with “Moon River”, those who know where the music came from- but are not musicians- are attractive as hell- at least to me. The company is great, and it’s often good to wake up together. There’s a musical connection. And music is a powerful aphrodisiac.

I’m not saying that everyone should be a walking, talking encyclopaedia of music. But if in the business of being in music, yes, stay “current”- and whatever that is today- but, surely- and you can call me Shirley- it’s about understanding and respecting the roots of music, hearing what’s come before and embracing all this knowledge and sounds to make that garden one is creating blossom in a unique manner?

An artist like Bjork has always understood this and which is why she’s the highly respected multi-media artist she is today.

What we learned from Dazed’s Instagram AMA with Björk – DAZED DIGITAL

Over the years, and before Bjork, came game changers like David Byrne/Talking Heads, Todd Rundgren, Bowie, Prince, the Beatles…

Watching the American Music Awards yesterday, it was more style over substance and audiences being sucker punched again just as even supposedly experienced musicians are by faceless, pointless streaming services that’s today’s equivalent of Muzak.

Add to this, many believing they’re making new music that the whole world is going to hear when someone like my barrister friend can listen to supposed “originalia” and say, “But that’s exactly like ‘Moon River’.” And she’s almost always on the money and not interested in pressing that “Like” button and giving false hope for the sake of being polite.

Personally, the music being heavily promoted today is about making brands out of commercially viable performers with ageism very much involved. They’re branding exercises. It’s marketing. It’s playing follow the leader until the leader gets lost in the lido shuffleboard of changing trends and being over the age limit.

Spotify will soon be seen as doing nada for unknown artists other than adding their content for free to the already existing clatter of clutter and begging friends to “Like” it. And then what?

Something new is on its way for the next generation- those under ten years of age. There must be. Enough regurgitation.

Let this be the equivalent of an online musical kindergarten for kids with a pop sensibility. Classically gifted children will always be a protected species. But a Pop/Rock online musical kindergarten to inspire and help mentor?

At least, that’s what this writer would like to see and will do his damnedest to make this a reality- and with the team, I feel, works best with me.

#music #Bjork #Spotify #AMAs #marketing #brands #RayCharles #MoonRiver #musicalkindergarten