Elvis – Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Lennon, Aretha, Janis, Michael Jackson, Jimi, Bono, Whitney and Celine-where will the next bright star shine and how many open eyes and ears will be there to recognize the intensity of their light?
Like many of our readers, this editor-CEO writes songs and has a working band. Kim, who is the singer in the group, suggested that I listen to Amy Winehouse’s song “Back To Black “as a possible number to add to our list of great covers. And so last evening I went to YouTube and watched the documentary on her life and her own emotional acoustic version of the song which impressed me a great deal yet it wasn’t like I needed to write another review about a singer or a band to be fulfilled, but that I came away from the screen with a renewed sense of Art and music in our culture and the need to value pure artistic genius.
There are literally millions of musicians and songwriters, painters and dancers and thousands of future artists being born each day. Most humans though will travel onward toward so called regular life, education and raising families. Some will merely get by and some will rise in their chosen fields. Proportionately I believe that fewer music artists will ever rise to the top of the food chain, and this I surmise is due to the physics of how many outlets, or channels on the radio and television actually exist…how many talk shows and specific programs there are to feature the over abundance of creativity flowing upward, all trying to reach the top few spots. And of course, that was the basis of why we started Damn Good Tunes so many years ago, to try to do our part to level the playing field to give at least some the opportunity for exposure. But there needs to be more creative outlets for our youth and other serious aspiring artists in which the environment would foster excellence and recognize those who are above the cut, providing them the guidance and avenues on which to travel. And that is my vision and thoughts of this day I would like to share.
In the world of sports we have the Olympics. In technology there is MIT. Harvard gives us law, West Point instills military leadership, and science brings us degrees in medicine and engineering. Music and Art though widespread in the world with conservatories and specialized school is suffering from the blind eye, the minds who just as in Mozart’s time refused to recognize his genius until it was far too late, just as society may have pre-assumed and judged artists like Kurt Cobain because they thought they knew and understood him from a video production the saw one time. He had, as Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin did – something special that would set them each apart from the army of millions of regular players and writers who are mostly happy just to be on stage or being featured at a gallery with a little blue ribbon. Not saying anything is wrong with entering a contest or selling a few downloads here and there, but in order to make it all the way to the top there needs to be people in place who are as passionate about the arts and music, but who have the keen eyes and ears to know who has that magic special something that no one else seems to have. Dylan for his lyrics for example and Miles Davis for his diverted sense of melody and cadence. At one time these men were young boys trying to express themselves and find their own way and they found it within themselves to push hard, keep playing and performing wherever they might. But for each of them there were ten thousand who would not be seen and out of those numbers probably at least a few who might have changed the world as we know it.
What I would like to see is that more of us who have been out there in the world creating and sharing our music and Art for decades would start talking about, creating and building centers for the arts where all young people could go to study and play music, dance and further their skills in painting and sculpture. There will always be a need for visual and broadcast arts and sciences and a need for people running cameras and editing film. And since before a Mid Summer Night’s Dream there has been a need for theater and so there must be a place for all the new Spielbergs and Eastwoods to practice Directing as well. There too I would also envision a curriculum which includes the Business of Music and Art and the necessity of health and abstinence from drugs….maybe even a class on what to do with your money when the big bucks start rolling in!
I had an advantage growing up where my parents were there to open the door to the arts to me, and I had a very dear dance and voice teacher, William Smethers, who saw the bright light burning from my heart for music and show business. I would welcome a hundred thousand thinkers and encouragers like Bill to help us build a legion of open eyes and ears, each ready to recognize the next Elvis, Michael or Amy who might be just now walking onto that high school stage to practice during lunch break.
Bruce J Maier