By now, everyone has seen and commented on the whole Miley VMA thing. People have been asking me for my opinions on it, and I’ve resisted getting involved in the conversation. But not for reasons that you think.
The reason why I haven’t commented on it, either publicly or privately, is simply this: We live in a culture that is, in so many ways, upside down and out of plumb. We love talking about A-Rod, Britney, Lindsey, Aaron Hernandez, and whatever fashionable train wreck floats across our Facebook pages. And the good stuff sometimes gets overlooked.
I suspect that, in some warped way, talking about celebrity train wrecks make us feel better about ourselves. Perhaps we vicariously enjoy tasting the larger-than-life drama, the idiosyncratic pop culture spectacles, like slowing down to look at the car crash. Or perhaps it gives us an inflated sense of morality. Ultimately though, I don’t think it’s healthy or productive to dwell on such things—and I certainly don’t want to play into it.
So I want you to know that I don’t want to talk about Miley or any of those other unfortunate artists—besides, there are way too much many good young musicians out there that we should be paying attention to instead.
So this blog has nothing to do with that stuff. Instead, I wanted to maybe expose you to some music that you might not have heard. Obviously it’s biased toward my musical sensibilities, but I hope you take a little time—to pour yourself a short cappuccino or a tall latte—and enjoy this nonetheless.
Here are three young musical artists you may or may not have heard about. Enjoy.
Songwriter Ed Sheeran is quite popular right now (especially with my teen daughters), which is why you might not know much about him outside of the hype. Regardless, he is quite the musical force. Sheeran performs a studio live version of “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” with a loop pedal. Tight grooves, clever lyrics, rapid-fire diction and great vocals—this is good stuff.
Upright jazz bassist and vocalist Espranza Spalding is a Grammy Award winner, including Best New Artist a few years ago. Here she performs on the Letterman Show. Soulful vocals, truly legit jazz chops, and a hip vibe. Nice.
Here’s one of my personal favorites, Jamie Cullum, re-imagining the jazz standard, “I Get A Kick Out of You,” at Blenheim Palace. An energetic blending of pop and jazz, an uncommon musical maturity, and a touch of neo-Sinatra attitude—This young man definitely kicks it.