While trying to "make it", aren't we perhaps forgetting about music itself?
I frequently think about this: despite daily assumptions on how and if an artist should be considered a true profession, more and more people are willing to make this happen. Since the dawn of humanity, music has always been around. Today we're flooded by it so it's no surprise the number of artists who want to dedicate to their passion increases exponentially. However, as it happens, whenever we start to focus on "making it" we might be losing sight of the very core of music itself, which is a tool and a language.
Music is indeed something subjective in terms of "user experience". However, simply analyzing how it started and developed through centuries, it gets pretty clear that it's a tool to communicate. This communication is much wider than 1 to 1 between people as it extends beyond human reach and can tap into the immaterial, the subconscious (individual and collective) and, as many said through the course of history, into the universal language itself. I couldn't agree more.
I idealized music and art my entire life, ever since I dreamt making it a profession. I suppose we all do (not unlike a lot of other things in life that get idealized). After it became my one and only activity, I started observing the dilemma of bringing forward something so abstract with the complete opposite: doing something whose value is recognized (thus, allows me to live with dignity and thrive).
As we already mentioned in previous articles, abstraction has no commercial value for itself. No book, script, sculpture, creation etc has an economic defined value beforehand. Especially after studying how music was born and evolved, I came to the conclusion that walking the artistic way is totally accepting and positioning yourself according to the following: creating something that really latches onto the most transcendental abstract powers of eternity and making it sustainable (that is, acknowledgement, economic reward, success as we commonly conceive it nowadays). If you think closely, these two things are not interlinked at all. They might never meet actually.
What's good for the soul, the infinity and the eternity of our existences won't necessarily represent something valuable (meaning something whose exchange value can make it practically worth for the creator). For the same reason, a lot of music today has nothing to do with art. Although someone might feel offended by this, I always felt it's vitally important to call things with their proper names.
Building a house doesn't make you an artist; writing a book doesn't make you an artist; drawing or painting doesn't make you an artist and, for the same reason, making music won't make you an artist. It's not even the fact that you make it your profession that grants the access to the artist way. It is a state of being, a never ending journey that starts with the intention of constantly learning how to access and "download" from the universal language server. That is art.
For millenniums, those who committed their lives to transcendence couldn't even aspire to the status symbol (=VIP public figure) we today pursue so vigorously. The media engine that turns somebody into a living God (only in terms of fame and public resonance) is something that came much later and intensified drastically over the last 70/80 years.
Whenever the concept of show business or music industry wasn't even thinkable, I think we can easily agree that the sparkle, the input that sprang into a young artist's mind was totally different than it could be today. In other words, since we all tend to be inspired by what's around us, nowadays we tend to overlook quite easily the true power music, even if all we do is music. I'll try to articulate more.
I have been studying sound and frequencies for years and I keep marveling about the apparently infinite properties they include and how much more there is behind a 3-minute song positioned in the Top 50 Chart. When you know all this, you can't help but asking yourself something: am I really exploiting the maximum of music potential, if all I'm doing is writing stuff for people to worship me because I'm famous?
It's here where I naturally came to notice (and try to accept) that, although this to me sounds foolish and totally insulting, many among those who do music don't care at all about the above mentioned. Revelations aren't over, buckle your seat belts: most of the music industry professionals don't care either. It is to say that there is a huge part of the music world that is simply into something which got nothing to do with art, as a language and a transcendental tool. They might be extremely good in exploiting music for personal/business reasons in order to fabricate money and fame. But they are less and less interested (thus, capable) in mastering music and sound true potential.
This basically solves the "equation" of why the most famous ones less and less represent the best at doing music, as a form of art. They're simply not. The most capable ones, technically and communicatively speaking, might never "make it" to the mainstream simply because they speak a different language. Well, so that's the way it is, always was and always will? Nope! I don't really think so.
Despite it can take decades or centuries, I have a feeling. It is a strong radical change which needs a cohesive action from different sides but here's what I think: humans are spiritual beings, made of energy, feelings and something that can't be scientifically ordered. The last centuries have been characterized by a strong polarization towards the matter, the tangible, the mathematical replicable models and so on. Sooner or later, we'll start polarizing at the opposite side, cause we'd feel something ain't just right. It's already happening actually.
We deified the economic growth and industrialization at all cost, truly believing it was literally everything we needed for feeling fulfilled. In other words, we traded our spiritual plane(s) for trying to settle and adjust the practical plane. Besides seeing for ourselves how all these beliefs are falling apart one by one, we're more or less starting to sense there is something more than aiming for a good salary, a home and waiting to retire from our day job.
What's my feeling about? Artists will gain an extremely important role in future's society as they can turn themselves into the channel to the infinite, to the abstract, to the universal power of vibrations and sounds in order to make a significant impact in people's emotions, state of mind and vision. The artist is nothing but a channel, in the end. But in order to become a functional channel, a powerful one, the artist must do the homework first. You don't get access to the highest levels of art's potential if you don't live the artist way, daily.
This is the change that I'm expecting (don't know if I'll witness during this existence, but I trust this will happen). On the other hand, it takes another strong ally: the non-artist. People who receive art and music will need to upgrade their motherboard too: how can one criticize the embarrassing artistic level and skills of the average famous music artists if that person is the same one who streams, follows and buys their concert's tickets?
I call it horizontal revolution: we don't need to arise and riot. In a world in which we always expect the things to change from the top down, it is time to assume the responsibility for a change that starts at the base of the pyramid. Is it easy? Hell no! It will be a nightmare. We're too hardwired to keep up with the known (even if crappy) instead of starting the change we say we'd wish for. It takes a lot of energy, self-awareness and an authentic and strong wish to improve, on an individual level. Masses won't change until we do it first, individually.
According to statistics and human history, this is more than feasible. In the end, it's all about cycles. I truly hope that whenever this cycle will be over, a more aware one will await. If life is nothing but a moment, it seems extremely crappy to waste it without taking advantage of the most powerful things there are in this universe. Music is by far one of those.