Many of the world’s greatest artists provoked new ways of thinking and were considered well ahead of their time. Often what are now recognized as groundbreaking albums were initially met with complete derision and horror as they defied the expectations of the critics and the public.
I remember people wondering why on Earth Bowie was releasing a mostly instrumental album and yet Low is recognized as a creative highlight in Bowie’s career. When Neil Young released “Tonight’s the Night” and “On the beach” the record company were aghast, as they were expecting another album in the tradition of “Harvest” and “After the Gold rush” I love all four of these albums, but applaud Neil for constantly pushing the boundaries musically and not just settling for what he knew the public would embrace. Miles Davis was also known to confound critics and public alike but produced a body of work that was quite extraordinary. Just think about the differences between “A Kind of Blue” and “On the Corner” Leonard Cohen’s “Halleluiah” was originally turned down by the record company as not being commercial enough. It went on to be recorded by over 200 artists including Bob Dylan and U2.
I respect all those creative artists who have a greater vision and much needed stamina to work in this way. With “The Original Ukulele Songs Project” I have taken a very specific stance of encouraging the creation of new music and collaborations between artists. Does this mean I hate or will never play cover versions? Of course, not, but I think it’s important for artists to create new material. Clearly I’m not alone in this view as the OUS FB platform has over 2300 members and the OUS main site has scores of artists showcasing original material as well as a new collaborations section where artists work together often for the first time. It’s a joy to check into www.originalukulelesongs.com each day and see new material from artists across the globe.
One of the things I love about OUS is the enthusiasm for the creative process. This is a far cry from simply repeating what has already been done and it looks like OUS is starting to gain all manner of attention. I predict that there will be even more momentum for creating original material in 2017 in the ukulele world. I even heard yesterday that one of the most recognized musical ensembles in the UK is about to release an original album of music for the very first time. Bravo to all such folks who are interested in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in new musical explorations.
This attitude of creative exploration is of course not confined simply to the world of music. The same criteria apply to other professions. I am fully aware of ruffling a few feathers in some quarters about what I have written in articles and blogs. I’m totally happy for people to agree to disagree on such issues and of course these are simply my personal opinions. Inevitably many personal observations provoke a wide range of responses. These include some wonderfully ludicrous comments where people totally miss the importance of critical thinking and discussion.
The following quote pretty much sums up my thoughts in respect of discussion and debate. It has been attributed to Voltaire, but I now find that it was Evelyn Beatrice Hall who made this comment –
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
Agree? Disagree? Either is fine with me, how about retaining an attitude of creative exploration and discussion in all things to see what more is possible?
“Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”
Pushing creative boundaries and taking a risk