Miley Cyrus teaches young girls to twerk. Justin Bieber gets arrested for driving under the influence. And Beyoncé exposes not only more of her body but also the intimacy of her bedroom. These very influential artists raise this question: where is our music today?
Music once had listeners thinking about what the lyrics meant. It was meant to empower, persuade, motivate and encourage. However, the influences are a little less than…positive. With this evolution of music is it safe to say music is dying?
Cabrini alumnus Matt Stewart says that music is not dead. “I think, like people, it can go through transitional phases and evolve over time,” Stewart said. So it is safe to assume that twerking and acting out is just apart of the evolution.
Music production major Rebecca Louden at Full Sail University does not believe music is dead either. She describes it as merely being on life-support. “Music needs to get back to where it started,” Louden said. “Like many things, it started out pure and over time it became tainted.”
As a young musician it can be discouraging to see that what it takes to be on television or an iPod is to have on a lingerie set and talk about my skills in the bedroom. It may seem trite but music is not complicated.
As complex as learning a new language is, music is simple. It is a language that everyone can understand without translation. “Music is my bridge in life,” Louden said. “It connects me to other cultures; I can travel the world.”
Though music has seemingly lost its way some in the face of music don’t believe its true essence is. Grammy nominated producer Carvin Haggins has been in the music business for 28 years and 21 years in major productions. Throughout his successful career, he has seen major shifts in music.
“I feel the music industry has changed in many ways,” Haggins said. “First, the music has lost all morality, love and teaching.” Music and artistry was something people could look up to. Has it now just become something that people want to make a quick dollar off of?
Haggins has helped to groom and push many artist in his 28 years. Through the evolution he believes they stop caring about its listeners and more about the money. “They don’t care who or how they affect their fans” Haggins said.
Though many artist nowadays are half naked, doing drugs and acting-out. One artist that Haggins produces is making it known that she is putting music back on the map. From Columbia, Md. to Philadelphia student, singer, rapper, musician, dancer and songwriter BriaMarie feels that music should empower. “I make music for the people like me who weren’t as confident enough to speak up for themselves and what they believe,” BriaMarie said.
BriaMarie demands ‘Respect’ and draws the attention of all types of audiences with her clean lyrics that compel you to sit and think. BriaMarie describes positivity in her artistry one-way: “It’s something that’s missing.”
With the advancements of technology music has become counterfeit. Reverend Keith I. Pelzer, former platinum-album producer, said, “You won’t be able to tell if something is fake or real until you hold it to the light,” talking about faith. “It can be passed through many hands before it’s tested to see its true value.” If this can be connected to music in layman’s terms—we have complicated music.
A popular movie in 2002, “Brown Sugar,” posed this question: “What made you fall in love with hip-hop?” Maybe this is the question artist today have to ask when making music. “I’ve always loved music,” BriaMarie said. “I remember singing Mariah Carey as early as kindergarten [student] and that made me fall in love with the idea of being a singer.”
Making good music does not have to mean exploiting oneself. It just takes passion. “As a little kid I was always fascinated with every sound,” Haggins said. “In 1982 I started rapping because my singing voice wasn’t so great.” From rapping Haggins had to make his own beats, which pushed him to produce.
Music isn’t dead its just going through a slight drought. “The music industry is a business and like every business it’s going to have its ups and downs,” Haggins said. “I believe once they figure out the problem it will be in full effect.”
The first step to changing the downward spiral of music is to resuscitate it. “We have to put more life into it,” BriaMarie said.