Notes from the Road - Maia Davies, Entry #2
By Maia Davies, Ladies of the Canyon - Guest blog on Jul 14, 2011
Notes from the Road is Music Canada’s artist tour diary. Canadian
artists on tour around the world will share their stories of fans, gigs
and the “good, bad and the ugly” of touring!
Making Music You Like
Artist and Repertoire. How relevant are the tried & true industry opinions on an artist's choice of material? Nowadays, we will find most artists and bands penning their own songs and sound. But in pining for the prize of popularity, many start considering shifting their creative focus in order to fit in more. Can't play it on top 40 radio. Too commercial for college radio. Can't put pedal steel on a pop record. Can't be political in a country song. These are phrases that are tossed around so liberally that as an industry, we seem to dismiss their implications, implications that are especially relevant in today's fluid context. I played with the mighty Broken Social Scene ensemble last weekend at Ontario's Northern Lights Festival, and here is what I learned from them.
A rich, creative collective, they have engineered a unique sound and genre that's both enchanting and commercially successful, seemingly based on one simple principal: they make music that they like. In my opinion, their music neither tries to conform to accepted formats nor subvert them. They are merely inspired and empowered to enjoy what they do: it’s a model that they've proven can work. They make great records that people buy and put on a great show that sells tickets.
I'm not implying there aren't a few dozen more reasons that account for the success of such musically honest groups (like BSS or the Black Keys), but it seems to me that making great art that is a true representation of your artistic expression is a damn good place to start. Especially in a climate where established marketing and A&R practices obtain tepid sales. I will be sure to follow my own advice. Wish me luck.