I was recently on a social media forum talking about music festivals and one promoter commented (I paraphrase) “We know what people want, its just about giving it to them” The same day I’d been watching an interview with Ricky Gervais about his process for writing and producing TV shows and movies. He talked about not using focus groups for his work and the need for creating original creative work. Whether you like his humour of writing, one thing is clear, he has been highly successful in his career which only started in his late 30s.
I love the old classic songs, especially from the early 1970s. Many of the best albums were created during that period including “Blood on the Tracks” “Hejira” and “Sticky Fingers” Neil Young also released the seminal “Ditch trio” of albums “Tonight’s the Night” “On the Beach” and “Time fades away”. The record company were shocked that after the commercial best selling “Harvest” album, he would take such a radical turn. In subsequent years his record company tried to sue him for making “uncommercial music” Neil of course remains one of the best selling global artists, uncompromising in his attitude.
My point is that the best artists strive to do more than just give the public what they have always had, they do something extraordinary, often talking a risk in doing so. I applaud such folks. If we want a musical work that stretches beyond “X factor” production line music and simply recycling existing ideas, then that requires doing something new. Gervais made this exact point in another interview and I agree totally with this view.
“You should make something. You should bring something into the world that wasn’t in the world before. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a table or a film or gardening-everyone should create. You should do something, then sit back and say, ‘I did that.'”
In 2017 there will be phase three of Original Ukulele Songs. I have no idea how it will turn out, that’s part of the fascination of course…