Out At The Open Mic/Karaoke Scene
As I have written about in prior posts, I enjoy going to open mics and listening to what gets play, who plays it, and trying out some of my own material to see how it flies. I learn a lot. I find singers whom I can use on tracks for my pitches. I’ve expanded my interested to attending karaoke nights as well, because many singers, while they are not performers in the true I-got-a-band-behind-me sense are really good singers, and eager to lay in a track for me. These events are really fun, and productive for me.
I get to witness people who are doing their very best at the thing they love doing the best: singing and performing. There are few pretensions at these settings. Every once in awhile, there will be someone who, by virtue of an MP3 with no voice track, or because they can strum a guitar and sing, and happen to have an audience of tolerant and patient folks, or has a small following of family and a friend or two, thinks that they are a star, but that is rare. Most of the singers are just having fun, and their audience supports them in the fun.
At both the open mic and the karaoke scenes, there are a wide mix of ages, genres, presentations, and personalities. Disco, Dance, Country, Jazz, various incarnations of Pop, Folk, Rock, Blues, and whatever is the obsession of each participant. It does take either a love for these kinds of scenes, or true patience to survive the boring presentations of those hardly talented individuals trying to do the best they can with none of the tools needed to accomplish the task. However I have found that if I can tolerate the worst of the scene, every so ofter are really great, young talent rises up and surprises the hell out of me.
Where I Hope the Next Generation is Headed
There are two young people who have provided me with a sense that the wind is changing it’s direction. There has been some, but not much, authenticity in the music scene for quite awhile now. That isn’t to say it’s not there, because it is. Authenticity is what the Indie Music Scene is supposed to be all about. But unfortunately, many times its authenticity is corrupted by notions of purity or contempt or chauvinism or idol-identification. This has pretty much led the Indie Music Scene into a box.
The first young person is about fourteen, and writes her own songs. I will not mention her name, because I do not have permission to do so, and also because I am going to save her story for another posting later on. She writes her own material, and performs it with just a guitar and her voice. She is good. Her songs come out of her own experiences and are well written–they are authentic. She writes and performs in a Folk/Pop style that is compelling. She is not loud and whenever she is up to the microphone, people stop their conversations and listen. She is quite impressive.
The other young person is first a musician, and not yet a songwriter. I have known her since she was just ten-years old. She plays piano and guitar very well, and does a little performing. she came up to me the other day and said that her father had told her that I was a songwriter, and asked me if I would help her with some songwriting lessons. WOW! I felt honored.
We talked about what she wanted to do by way of songwriting. Well, she does not want to do any Dance or Electronica, but is interested in writing in a Folk/Pop style. I said that I would be happy to help her get started. I say help her get started, because she is one of those kids who was born smarter than the average adult, and raised by two parents who are extremely bright, and has more confidence than I have seen in any kid for a long time. Usually it is less confidence and more arrogance, and arrogance is not very productive.
Getting Back to the Title of This Posting
I am not sure if discovering two young people who are around the same age, and who have similar interests in music is a coincidence or a trend. I would like it to be a trend. I know that there are many out there who will tell me that the Folk/Pop genre has always been around and the two does not make a trend, and I know that is in part true, but I wonder about the trend part.
I haven’t mentioned my oldest granddaughter who is twenty so really doesn’t qualify as a fourteen-year old, but she fits into this movement of Folk/Pop as well. She is a huge Sufjan Stevens fan. I bought her a banjo last year because of her fanship.
Folk/Pop not new by any stretch of the imagination, but underground for years, and I wonder if these young folks interested in the Folk/Pop Scene is simply a coincidence or if it might be a trend of main-stream music to come. It might be something to which we should be paying attention.