I love music.
I’ve posted a number of times about the important place music has in my life. I’ve talked about how just sitting back and listening to music is one of my all-time favourite things to do (not that I have a lot of time to do it these days – the main times I actually do get to listen are either driving my car or riding my exercise bike). I’ve even mentioned my various thwarted efforts to actually be a musician, particularly my attempts to master the guitar.
I have to say though that the more I think about it, the more I realise being a musician may not be the best idea.
It’s not just the financial insecurity. Hey, I’m a writer – I already know about that stuff. And it’s not just the lifestyle, though it’s likely that the late nights and touring would probably not play well for a homebody like myself. It’s something about the basic way the music industry seems to be organised these days that I would have the most trouble dealing with.
Music has become so genre focussed. There’s rock music and pop music and country music and rap and R&B and heavy metal. Hey, there are even genres within the genres – sub-genres of rock and sub-genres of pop and sub-genres of any other genre that I couldn’t even begin to list or understand. And everything else seems to be so geared towards those genres. Fans expect their music to fit into these pre-defined genres. Radio stations now only play their specific genre (or sub-genre).
Sound a little familiar?
Seems like what’s happening in the music world is eerily similar to what is happening in the writing world. The world of books now seems totally dominated by genre, and genres within genres and sub-genres within genres within genres. The whole thing has become so mind-bogglingly complex that I can’t even start to follow it anymore.
Which leads to the major reason I don’t think I’d be successful as a musician. Just like the way I approach writing, I don’t think I could make music in a single genre, and certainly not in a restrictive sub-genre of a genre of a genre. I’d always be looking to mix it up. Merge some pop into my rock, with maybe a touch of blues or a smattering of jazz or a pinch of country. And doing it in the most unexpected ways, of course. My audience wouldn’t know what to think. Most of the time, I’m not sure I’d know what to think either.
Sure, I know that I wouldn’t be the only one doing these. There is plenty of genre mixing around. Every so often, one of these strange musical mavericks is actually successful.
And if they can succeed in music, why shouldn’t I succeed with the same approach as a writer.
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