Since I started Weekly Music Commentary I have developed a method of creating an article. Normally, when I hear of an artist making current news, immediately I start to listen to their music. Not just one song, but usually I listen to an album or several albums of songs, in order to get an understanding of what the artist is trying to accomplish musically. After intense listening I start to search for interviews or quotes from the artist to try to understand a little about his or her personality. I work this way even when I am familiar with the artist to be featured. For this week I was forced to do things differently.
With Elle Varner, I started with an interview on New York’s 105.1 The Breakfast Club show. Reluctantly, I listened to the entire interview. I don’t like listening to the interview first because I develop an opinion before knowledge of the music the artist created. However, here I was with an opinion of Ms. Varner before really being familiar with her music. The interview was great because I found Elle Varner to be a young, energetic, very bright and entertaining person. I really liked her personality! She was passionate about her album, “Perfectly Imperfect”, and wanted others to enjoy her music regardless of how much music was sold. Not really too different from other artists but refreshing coming from a twenty-three year old vocalist. Now I needed to hear her sing.
As I started to listen to the first song I was reminded why I developed my method of creating each blog post. I was expecting her to sound much different because my thinking had been influenced by the interviewer’s comments and ideas. After listening a little more, I was impressed that she and her production team had crafted a sound that really fit her vocal abilities. I kept listening until I heard the entire album. The last thing I wanted to see was concert footage. Once I saw and heard Elle performing live I realized she was very talented. Her musical talent should not be a surprise because both her parents were musicians and songwriters. Elle Varner’s mother, Mikelyn Roderick, was a backup singer for Barry White and her father Jimmy Varner had collaborated with Gerald Alston, Kool and the Gang, and Will Downing. As a young child she spent a lot of time in music studios surrounded by her creative parents and other very talented musicians. Elle Varner becoming a successful singer/songwriter was inevitable.
While listening to her music I wondered if hip hop music would survive, or if it would change even more than it has changed already? If there are a few young artists like Elle Varner on the horizon, I think the future of hip hop will be in good hands. Right now, Elle Varner is a happy musician. She is happy with her record company, her producers and her promotional team. Happy recording artist’ make good music. As I listen to Elle Varner today, I feel that I am listening to hip hop’s future. I can’t wait for her next album!