Well, we have now entered the year 2013. Here we are thirteen years after the year when many thought the world structure would crumble because computers would not be able to read past the year 2000. Now we are here thirteen years later, and we see no end to technological advances. The music industry also has experienced changes because of available technical upgrades seemingly every six months. Personally, I really like what I see in regard to music industry changes. We live at a time where we have a larger choice from which to choose, and many more artists are able to give material to wider audiences. Last week I saw and heard a lot about the music and news of 2012. I look back on all the musicians I featured in Weekly Music Commentary and really enjoyed so much of their music. I appreciate the great number of new artists who have come upon the scene and given us legendary albums. Another of those entertainers is being featured this week: Bruno Mars.
Bruno Mars has hit the market like a singer/songwriter with several years of experience under his belt. At the end of 2012 he gave us his second album and once again he has a song, “Locked Out of Heaven”, now number one on the Billboard charts as we write this commentary. Reviewing all the music of 2012 fueled several conversations with others about what to look for in 2013 and years to come. Like many of you reading out there I too like to talk about the future of the music industry and express my opinion about how music will change. Bruno Mars is an artist who I feel is the personification of the music of tomorrow. As a historian, I feel to understand the future many of the clues can be found in the past and present. Therefore, if you want to know something about the future of music, the best thing might be to look at current trends.
First of all the backgrounds of each musician are extremely diverse. Like Bruno Mars, many musicians’ parents and grandparents come from very different geographical locations throughout the world. Mars was raised in Hawaii to parents of Puerto Rican, Jewish, Filipino and Spanish descent. This reason alone may have had a major effect upon his musical preferences. In addition his parents were also musicians who performed all styles of music from Motown to Rock n Roll. As you listen to his new album you can hear elements of Hip Hop, R&B, Motown, Rock and Reggae.
As Bruno Mars’ music becomes more popular it shows us that in 2013 and beyond he will continue to bring us albums without true genre lines. Many folks I talk to don’t necessarily like this development feeling it may dilute pure musical forms within each genre. That may or may not happen, but I cannot state for sure if genre erasure is good or bad for music overall. Regarding his current album “Unorthodox Jukebox”, Mars said, “I listen to a lot of music, and I want to have the freedom and luxury to walk into a studio and say, ‘Today I want to do a hip-hop, R&B, soul or rock record.’
Bruno Mars also started in the music business as a songwriter and producer for other artists but now has successfully stepped in front of the microphone. There have been a great number of musicians to blaze this trail and many, many more will follow. “Unorthodox Jukebox” was released December 11, 2012, and that means much of its musical impact will be felt throughout 2013. Pick it up and enjoy an excellent album of music.
photo by James Mooney