Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thou Doth Protest Too Much

John Denver once said,
"Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same."
I used to believe that as well. Music brings us together. Last Sunday, however, I began to have my doubts. This time last Sunday Twitter was a buzz with Grammy Fever-from who was wearing what to what artists were winning and why, and who had the best performance or not. Then came the Best New Artist Moment. This is when I think I truly realized today music often separates us.

As I pondered this notion, I realized that it was not so much the music. It is ignorance and musical prejudice. First off, it is ignorance about what the Grammys really are. The Grammys are not predictors of longevity. They are not about popularity. Many music "fans" do not understand this concept.

From the Grammy Website:
"The recording industry's most prestigious award, the GRAMMY, is presented annually by The Recording Academy. A GRAMMY is awarded by The Recording Academy's voting membership to honor excellence in the recording arts and sciences. It is truly a peer honor, awarded by and to artists and technical professionals for artistic or technical achievement, not sales or chart positions (GRAMMY Awards Voting Process). The annual GRAMMY Awards presentation brings together thousands of creative and technical professionals in the recording industry from all over the world."
Winning a Grammy for music is like winning an Oscar for movies. It is about the best that year. The Grammy doesn't concern itself with future sales or concert sales. It's about being the best artistically and technically for that particular year. The people who vote on the awards include the following:
  • singers
  • songwriters
  • engineers
  • producers
  • managers
  • a wide range of professionals working in the music industry
These are the people who are going to vote on the award. Not fans. The fans have the People's Choice Awards, the American Music Awards, and the MTV awards. These are grown-ups who understand what it takes to make an outstanding record, and they have been doing so for many years. Each category has its own experts who narrows the field.

Here are the rules for the four major awards, once again from the

  • Record Of The Year-Singles or Tracks Only: For commercially released singles or tracks of newly recorded material, vocal or instrumental. Tracks from a previous year's album may be entered provided the track was not entered the previous year and provided the album did not win a GRAMMY. Award to the artist(s), producer(s), recording engineer(s) and/or mixer(s) if other than the artist. NOTE: Associate producers and executive producers are not eligible.
  • Album Of The Year-Albums Only: For vocal or instrumental albums. Albums must contain at least 51% playing time of NEWLY RECORDED material. Award to the artist(s), and to the album producer(s), recording engineer(s) and/or mixer(s), and mastering engineer(s) if other than the artist. NOTE: Associate producers and executive producers are not eligible. Albums of previously released recordings (reissues, compilations of old recordings and "Best Of" packages) are not eligible.
  • Song Of The Year-Singles or Tracks Only: A song must contain melody and lyrics and must be either a new song or a song first achieving prominence during the eligibility year. Songs containing prominent samples or interpolations are not eligible. Award to the songwriter(s).
  • Best New Artist-Albums, Singles or Tracks: A new artist is defined as any performing artist who releases, during the eligibility year, the recording that first establishes the public identity of that artist as a performer. Any previous GRAMMY nomination for the artist as a performer precludes eligibility in the Best New Artist category (including a nomination as an established performing member of a nominated group). Exception: If an artist/group is nominated (but does not win) for the release of a single or as a featured artist or collaborator on a compilation or other artist’s album before the artist/group has released an entire album (and becomes eligible in this category for the first time), the artist/group may enter in this category for the eligibility year during which his/her/their first album released. NOTE: The artist must have released, as a featured performing artist, at least one album but not more than three; and the artist must not have been entered for Best New Artist more than three times, including as a performing member of an established group. (Choirs, choruses and large band ensembles are not eligible.)
Now that that is cleared up, let me throw in my two cents. I'm not a musical connoisseur. Nor do I pretend to be. I like what I like, and I don't try to shove it down any one's throat. I don't try to make you see how great anything is. Why, because some music is just not esthetically pleasing to everyone. I believe that your musical ear is developed largely by the music you are surrounded by. I grew up in rural Mississippi-no MTV, no BET, or VH-1. My musical tastes were shaped by what I saw on TV and what I had available to listen to on the radio and what my grandmother had on 45's. Basically, I was raised on a heaping helping of the blues, country, R & B, and Elvis. Yes, Elvis is from Mississippi. Junior High exposed me to classical music, pop, and Hard rock. High School and college exposed me to Hip-Hop. The Grammys were my exposure to many wonderful genres of music. I still don't like them all.

I will listen to practically anything. That doesn't mean I'm going to like it, and I don't feel like I should have to give you a dissertation as to why I don't. If you like it, enjoy it. Music is suppose to make you feel. Just don't tell me what I should like. Just because you think something is great doesn't mean other people will. Leave it at that. I'm not a fan of Kanye West. I am a fan of Irish folk music. I'm not going to try convert you.

I don't hate Justin Beiber. I don't personally know the kid. I don't really care for his music. Why? Because I'm not twelve. I have had my bubble gum pop phase. My guys were New Kids on the Block, Another Bad Creation, Color Me Badd, The Boys, etc. No, I really don't care for Katy Perry or Rihanna. I went through that phase with Debbie Gibson, Tracie Spencer, and Tiffany. Their music is not bad, but let's be real it's not great either.

I'm not a fan of hip-hop, so I never make arguments about how good or bad it is, because I don't really care for it. Occasionally, a hip-hop artist or song will pique my interest, but there will always be this one little thing that ruins it for me-be it a lyric or the beats. It's just not my cup of tea, and that's okay. We are not cookie cutters identical. We have free will. We are entitled to like what we like, and we don't have to explain ourselves. Like what you like and leave me be...Now, if you don't mind, I think Celtic Woman is on PBS...deuces...

Until next time, "I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music."~Billy Joel

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you. Beiber is a talent. Esperanza is a prodigy. There's a difference. Her album is extraordinary and anytime Prince is a fan, then that's saying something. Beiber sells to his group/market and does well. Esperanza has music that's not limited to one audience. It's something that can be enjoyed and experienced worldwide. The fact that people are so upset with Beiber not winning that they decided to take it out on someone who had nothing to do with the voting herself shows the immaturity of his fans. I like one of the kid's songs, but an award? In the words of Ochocinco: Child, please.