Published on April 16th, 2013 | by mark0
Musicology 101: Artists That Evolve
I think a cool topic that we have not touched on is an artists ability to evolve. Now, I am not simply talking about being current, relevant or even hip (that makes me sound old). I am referring to an artists ability to spread their wings, dabble in other genres or even refine their skills becoming a more complete performer. I enjoy looking back and ahead to see what was and now, what will be when it comes to this process.
In my head, the first choice would be Madonna, whom started with very pop oriented music in the early 1980′s. In her early days, she had a fun, innocent vibe with very radio friendly tracks. By the end of the decade going into the 1990′s, her attention turned to more risque themes. Her music became more sexual and included lewd acts on stage. Her sound became more electronic and dance orientated. By now, her style has come full circle and her musical style distinct. However, they are periods for her and this a key factor when listening to someones evolution as an artist.
A second example and fascinating one at that, is Snoop Dogg. Arriving in the early 1990′s west coast rap scene, this talented microphone checker blasted onto the scene with some help from Dr. Dre. The good doctor helped produce some early classics and really allowed some roots to be planted. Snoop was definitely more gangster back in those days with a harder more funky sound. By the middle of the 1990′s, his sound was still intact. However, by the late 1990′s, early 2000′s his sound became more radio friendly. He capitalized on his ability to create catchy slang and really became relevant again ten years ago. Since 2003, Snoop has dabbled in sounds ranging from funk to now reggae as his name is now Snoop Lion.
I really like this about any artist. The ability to stay relevant, to stay in the now and show diversity over ones career. I believe this is what separates great artists from cultural icons. The innate knowledge that change is a part of life and if you do not adapt or evolve, you will go by way of the dinosaur, allowing a new species of artist to take your rank.