Saturday, May 16, 2009

Question of the Day - May 16, 2009


E. Snively asks:

Everyone asks the question of who/what will be the face of our generation or next superstar to grace us with their presence. Kanye West self-proclaimed that he was the voice of our generation...I would strongly disagree however what type of person do you see being the next superstar. Will it be a cocky virtuoso or a humble yet talented diamond in the rough?

Hartmann responds:

The next big thing is usually something one would not have expected. In a world of straight jazz singers emulating Frank Sinatra, who would have thought that a hip shaking, animistic, sexual beast like Elvis would get the world all shook up? The Beatles were equally surprising when they came on the scene in the early sixties. Vocal groups were dominating and along came a self contained quartet who had the audacity to sing their own tunes. The individual or band that breaks through inevitably represents their own age group. They look and sound like their audience, and sometimes it is hard to tell if the artists are following the fans or vice-versa. And, it doesn't really matter. The important thing is that somehow they both end up on the same square at the same time. New music cycles generate from the grassroots up and usually it is a long slow climb. Often there is more than one genre or style of music competing for dominance. The winner is the form that produces the biggest star first. Electronica has been flirting with a growing cult audience for a decade and has yet to break wide open. Some artists are fusing different genres with elements of electronica, hip hop, dance and pop. These hybrid bands might just come up with something new. There is a band in Florida doing "Pop Reggae." This 12 piece band combines electronic music with the traditional reggae beat. This could be something great, as dance is invariably part of new music waves. One thing is for certain, the next big thing was not Kanye West. He is a pretender living on cloud 9 and suffering under the delusion that he is something great. His career slid into home at the tail end of Hip Hop and there is nothing original or enduring about his music. He is one of the last artists to be jammed into radio by a major record company hype machine. I think the future belongs to some artist who demonstrates a new set of personal values that transcend greed and "making it." This act will need to have a lot of bases covered, starting with great songs that speak to the concerns and anxieties of the youth culture. They must also show an integrity of purpose and a spiritual relationship with their audience. Symmetry and virtuosity would also help draw fans to their "cause." The public has a relatively sophisticated perception of musicians and the state of music as business. They are most likely to embrace an artist who shows himself to be like them ,or at least how they would like to see themselves. I don't think it will be a somebody with a cocky, pompous, attitude; although rebellion against the status-quo could provide an integral ingredient. The younger generation is engaged in a transcendent personal change from their cultural programming. This has been demonstrated in the "youth" factor as seen in the last election. They seem determined to provoke the evolution revolution. The next superstar will have to stand for something more noble than money, sex, machismo and personal glory. Look for an act with leadership qualities projecting an enlightened life style to be the next Pied Piper on Planet Earth. I don't think it will be a diamond in the rough suddenly staking a huge claim in cyber-space. It will most likely be an artist who has struggled and sharpened his skills over an extended period who will suddenly come with a great song that inspires everybody to take a look. When they come under the microscope of digital investigation they will reveal an evolved set of talents and personal principles that will make them "what's happening." Its up to the fans to make a choice. The historical trajectory of popular music suggests that this is not just a possibility; it is inevitable.

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