How often have we heard it? Older and younger folks alike have been saying it in recent times. “There is no real talent in music anymore!” People say music nowadays are all auto-tuned and digitally programmed. Too easily everyone can make music with just a touch of a button on a laptop. Almost no one plays real musical instruments anymore. Further, we haven’t even mentioned people saying there is no more musical innovation in our day and age. Everything sounds the same in today’s popular music. It’s all copy and paste over and over. Now no one cares about pushing the envelope anymore like Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen did on an Electric Guitar, or like John Bonham from Led Zeppelin did on Rock Drumming, or like Michael Jackson on Singing and Dancing. True musical artistry is gone.
But… is it really gone? Well, I beg to differ. If it really is, no one would have come to my concerts and applaud me for being daring to be different, original, and envelope-pushing. My stage name is Mighty One Man Band, and I make music by simultaneously singing and playing a vast array of musical instruments completely alone and live with no backing tracks, no sequencer, and also no looping. Fans have come up to me saying that my one-of-a-kind, one-man-band live performance and original songs have arisen the fire in them. Just like when I was a kid being crazily inspired by the innovation of Jimi Hendrix or Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, these fans of mine have been telling me that they’ve also been more than just entertained. They’ve been ignited.
Innovation in music is alive and well.
>> Do you agree? What has your own experience been like with the music today? Do you think musical innovation and genuine musical artistry are gone?
The legendary martial artist Bruce Lee said, ”Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.” The amazing band Tool from their album “Lateralus” also sings, “Push the envelope. Watch it bend.” These people I just mentioned are some of my heroes. They are courageous artists who push humanity’s development forward and upward throughout history. Their artistry and innovation have made them into real-life superheroes. And speaking of superheroes, their godfather Stan Lee once said, “There must always be those with the fire of rebellion in their blood! There must always be those who will dare to fight an unbeatable enemy! Only thus can the race of man remain strong and fearless!” As someone who strives to be the best musician and person I can ever be, all the quotes above deeply resonate with me. And one more, Dave Grohl from the band Foo Fighters also said, “Always have the highest bar for yourself. Wake up everyday and no matter how crappy you feel, want to change something for the better. Do something that makes someone happy. Create something that inspires someone. Be someone’s light when they are hopeless.”
I am 100% with my heroes above. I want to suit up and courageously continue innovating and honing my musical artistry despite the lack of those in popular music today, and I want to keep igniting my audience just like my heroes did to me.
Now how about you? Are you complacent with what’s available on popular music today? Or are you yearning for more innovation and more genuine artistry from today’s musicians? Or do you think those two are already gone in today’s music? If they are, do you think innovation and genuine artistry will come back to popular music someday? I’d love to hear what you all have to say on this matter.
Bruce Atomo (Mighty One Man Band)
Listen to “Suit Up” by Mighty One Man Band on Spotify: