It’s good to be back home from my month long vacation in Temecula, California. I missed the Philippines. Nothing beats living in your own country.
The artists of the past and present can always coexist. Each time some of our favorite artists growing up have begun to peak or get past their prime, there will always be another artist in the horizon who is beginning to hit his stride and make his mark. More often than not, their paths cross and they do end up working together in some capacity whether that be in concerts, being featured in each other’s music, working backstage together, or in respective roles of mentor and apprentice.
It is true that artists from the past and the artists of today cross paths, inevitably. What happens when they do depends on the level of respect they have for each other. If both parties can focus enough energy and time from their busy schedules, something special can happen out of their collaboration.
In fact, most current popular artists would want to work with artists of the past simply because they grew up listening to their music and have become longtime fans. Beyond that reason, it is also a way of building up their own respective careers out of such a collaboration or being featured in one of the veteran artist’s songs because they know they will be working with someone who is established and has proven longevity in the music industry.
On the other hand, there are instances that some current popular artists dislike being compared to artists of yesteryear, much less work with them. While I find it perplexing why some current artists would react this way, they must understand that comparisons are unavoidable and such should be taken as a compliment rather than an insult. Especially so, if upcoming artists are being compared to some of the greatest artists ever, that is something for them to be proud of rather than be irked about.
For example, if you are a relative newcomer to the music industry and you are told by a fan or a fellow musician or anyone else that you know that you remind him of a music icon, or a pioneering artist in his genre, or a late music legend, it means you have crossed the generational appeal!
To have a *cross generational appeal is an uncommon quality and not a lot of artists possess it without coming off as forced or pretentious. So if you have that quality about yourself, then you should embrace it while continuing to develop and hone also your artistic side so that you still know who you are as an artist.
Whether it is because you exhibit a musical trait or it is because you perform in a certain way that makes the listener remember an artist from the past, that means you are able to tap into that person’s long-term memories of artists he grew up idolizing and longs to hear and see again perform. That in turn would make him a fan of yours, or at the very least, get his attention because you remind him of that bygone artist each time he hears and sees you perform.
However, always try to be yourself artistically and do not end up being a blatant rip-off of some other artist and shamelessly mimic and emulate everything that can be copied from that artist of yesteryear. Having a few similarities is fine as long as it is not intended on your part to capitalize on the image, likeness, sound, or other aspects of an artist from the past whether that said artist is still performing or not, alive or not.
Of course, newcomers to the music industry just want a fair chance to succeed and make it on their own without feeling like they are performing in the shadow of someone else. They do not want the added pressure of trying to match someone else’s career this early when they haven’t even yet established their own.
Yes, by all means, build a name for yourselves. Carve your own niche and leave a mark in the music industry when everything is said and done. But do not forget the artists who came before you, and if they reach out to you or express interest to work with you, grab that opportunity because you may never have that chance again. Life is short. So many artists have passed away already.
When the veteran artist senses hidden potential in the new artist, he/she would want to help unlock it for you if you have not yet fully tapped into your own inner resources. However, be discerning that this act of good will is applicable only in those veteran artists who have a generous and giving spirit because they realize the importance of developing the next wave of artists.
This selfless good will toward new and promising artists does not obviously hold true for veteran artists whose only mission left in their lives now is to hold back others from shining, or those who exercise their abusive power of influence to stop new artists from being signed or given more opportunities. Unfortunately, they are a lot of them out there who will attempt to sabotage your budding careers. That is one of the many harsh realities of the music industry that you have to be prepared and brace yourselves for. Not everything will be easy and handed to you on a silver platter.
But for the veteran artists who do want you to succeed because they see that the musical talent you have is equal to them, or even greater than their own, you will not only learn from them, they can learn something new from you, as well. It would work both ways. There is always a way to bridge that generational gap. Both parties will benefit from each other. Something special is bound to happen.
When two artists representing two generations, and who come from diverse musical backgrounds can work together, great things can take place… if they mesh well, are aware of each other’s strengths, fully understand the objectives at hand of their collaboration, and see eye to eye on what they want to accomplish together.
When that happens, then and only then, I believe, true co-existence takes place for past and present artists.
*Cross generational appeal – Note: I am the first one who to coin and use this phrase on Inquirer.