The king of sad boy music. He revolutionized the industry with his youtube videos under the name :Filthy Frank." Now the famous YouTuber makes music...that is actually really good objectively. It has a different type of vibe compared to music this day and is produced really well. I draw the lo-fi vibrations for my songs from his music and it has changed the way I make my music throughout the year.
image courtesy of Rock And Roll Hall of Fame
Les Paul, a major pioneer in multiple areas of music, was the famous creator of the solid body electric guitar and other technological artifacts. As a young boy in Wisconsin, Les took apart everything he could get his hands on. While his teachers discourage him from continuing music, nevertheless he learned guitar, banjo, and harmonica all by himself. He was infatuated with instruments and was the first inventor of the harmonica holder, although he never prepared a patent for the item. Under the nickname Rhubarb Red, he played in the local radio station in his teenage years. Whenever he messed up when playing music, he would always improve upon it continuously. His curiosity and perfectionist personality propelled him to receive an offer to explore Chicago, which at the time was known for its jazz. Les played Southern Music in his hometown compared to this new type of music foreign to him, but he never stopped at an obstacle, he always pushed through. Forming a trio, he played with major musicians of the time.
As Les grew and became more creative, he gradually met people along the way that helped him succeed. Mary Ford was one such person, but she did not stay in his life forever as Les’ stubborn behavior ended their relationship in divorce. Les continued playing guitar until he was well into his 90s and his invention for the solid body guitar became a widespread success with Rock and Roll stars. Les passed away in 2009 but his contributions to the music industry and music technology will always be remembered. I am heavily inspired by him greatly. He created the electric guitar, which is one of my favorite instruments, and helped propel music technology into stardom. I only wish I had met him earlier as his great ideas were radical compared to people before him.
Lin Manuel Miranda and Hamilton
Image Courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico
Hamilton, one of the most popular broadway shows, turned out to be a recent interest of mine. I acted before high school but decided to quit and leave that life of theatre behind me. For some reason, my love for the music that comes attached to theatre never fails to come back to me. 4 years after my departure, it came from my decision to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack. From "The World is Not Enough" to "The Schuyler Sisters," the whole album tells a story of the main character, Alexander Hamilton. The mastermind behind this is Lin Manuel Miranda, a name you may have heard from Moana or Mary Poppins Returns. His works never fail to amaze me, and my favorite Miranda Album will always be Hamilton.
Childish Gambino/Donald Glover
image courtesy of Glassnote Records and Island Records
From analyzing Gambino's music and style, his music screams R&B and hip hop. From the hit Redbone to the politically-engaged This is America, his music is always different. To top it off, he makes some of his lyrics and even produces his songs. Outside of music, he created his own TV show Atlanta which features his own song as the topic. I began listening to his first mixtape, Sick Boi, when it was released in 2008. He filled in a hip hop gap that other artists were unable to fill. More recently, he made a song called Feels like Summer, which is actually a song about his exit from music and about growing climate issues. Gambino is one of the only artists, from the collection of artists I have listened to, to successfully project stories and politics within his works. He is a true renaissance man and has inspired me since the beginning.
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Karma Police used to be something I heard on the radio. Lately, as my thirst for guitar grew, I decided to listen to Radiohead and their other songs. Their music is very mellow and calm, a key idea that I enjoy within modern music. Rather than music blasting into my ears, I prefer a calm environment, a reflection of my normal personality. However, when I wish to feel an upbeat pattern, I turn to Ok Computer. I enjoy that their songs are universal and have lasted even past their prime years. Another band that has done this is Outkast, but my music is not as reflective of Outkast as it is of the Radiohead.
Image courtesy of BBC
BROCKHAMPTON has become a very important group in my life. Their rap is extremely unconvential and is clearly about an issue in the world. Many rap songs I have listened to in the past contain basic hip hop beats and nothing much added on. With this group, their rap includes hip hop beats, guitar, piano, and a wide variety of other instruments. Sometimes, their lyrics focus on problems or social issues encountered within each artists life. I feel their tracks are very personal and in many ways I can relate to their problems.
Image Courtesy of Apple Music
Jay Park, while relatively unknown to the world's population, is a famous South-Korean singer. His music does not share the banal hip hop beat as other rappers overuse. He goes a different route and uses different styles of rap to tell his tales. The music is never the same compared to many bad, underground American rappers that sing for money than for quality. While his hip hop may be a bit too foreign for most, I enjoy learning the lyrics with Jay Park as he raps in Korean. I translate his lyrics to understand what message he is trying to get across, and the words are stunning. Nothing in his songs have gone to waste, they are all simply rational.
Indian Classical Music
Image Courtesy of Sacred Hearts Research Foundation
When I first picked up my guitar, the only rhythms and beats I learned were Indian classical. Do Re Me compared to Sa Re Ga, I did not have a different style of teaching, it was just in a different language. While I cry at the fact that I have to listen to temple music with the same lyrics, the beats behind them always amaze me. The music echoes spirituality. Every time I listen to it, I ascend to godly planets, whisked away from the whole proposition that this is apart of me now. The above image features Ravi Shankar (center), Alla Rakha (left) and Tanpura accompanist (right), a very interesting group as they all have relatively different playing styles. While today's Bollywood music is littered with upbeat remakes of the original classics, I can not help but wonder why remake something that is already great. For some reason, most of the indian population agrees with me, but in the end the composers never listen and keep aiming towards hype music.