I’ve got so many passions – from writing to cooking…amongst others. Music is one of them. So I’ll take a chance at writing about what young contemporary artists are inspiring me right now.
There are so few Top 40 American Pop icons that I appreciate. Never been a big fan of commercialized American Pop – from Ariana Grande to Katy Perry – I feel they lack the presence of a lasting musician.
However, the latest group of young musicians really blows my mind. Individuals who give their audience an intimate understanding of who they seem to be and portray. Whether it’s social media, or their music videos, their festival performances – these are my top 3 pop icons. All 3 combine true talent, performance, passion and to connect to multiple generations with their music.
Billie Eilish with her dark electronic pop representing the U.S. Rosalia with her Spanish and classic flamenco vibes representing Spain, and Dua Lipa with her dance-pop representing the U.K and proudly her heritage of Albania.
Each artist has had the ability to work and create long-standing hits that don’t require you to scrape off the sugary substances that a lot of mainstream music is usually comprised of. Even with Katy Perry and Halsey – most of the American music market has yet to produce feminine talent akin to Dua Lipa and Rosalia – hence why Billie Eilish on these American Isles is such a welcome response to the needs of the music consumer today – she isn’t bubble gum and she is the complete antithesis of all of that.
I’d say Cardi B’s ability to be “real” is also why she is so huge and successful. But, let’s go back to music. ALL 3 are internationally acclaimed because just marketing a face and subpar vocals will only leave you…eventually…because sometimes highly produced music and the science behind pop can make lasting impressions. Not always good – look at Baby Shark. But, when you have a voice and a genuine personality that can go with it, you can grab wallets as well as hearts.
Dua Lipa’s rougher voice and presence are not only appealing but it has an everlasting quality. Maybe there’s a tinge of Amy Winehouse in the throat. To me, she is the pop princess – well deserved and proving that she is an artist in her own right. Poised – and connects to the commoner – her’s is a story of family, friends, bonds, and music. Her music is strong, fun, and again, internationally, it is relatable. Producers from Diplo, Mark Ronson and Calvin Harris have worked with her to create hits but she on her own carries the strength to create the magic of pop. She is another generation European dance-pop along the lines of Kylie and Robyn, albeit less sprite-ish or pixie-esque.
Billie Eilish is connecting to the disparate youth with her indie-soul – her music isn’t complicated, but the story behind it is charming. Making music with her older brother – growing up with an eclectic entertainment family – part hippie – part creatives – part Hollyweird. Her brooding darkness, her lack of stilettos and glitter makes her truly gold in a market that is marred by caked-on makeup and false body parts. Angelic voice cloaked in a dark spirits Dapper Dan Gucci robe.
Rosalia’s charm comes from the passion that ties into all of her music – from her videos her choreography, her vibrating falsettos, and her classically inspired flamenco roots which deeply indundates you with vibrations that make you believe that musicianship and performance truly do go hand in hand. She embodies the musician who has it all – the ability to perform the stamina and the grace as well as the vocals and talent. She is – the ultimate performer. Add to that the Latin music market is one of the largest in the world, with a language 2nd to English in numbers.
My favorite quote ” There are moments that are only a stone’s throw from a Grouper record; alongside decades-old songs about exile and poverty and doomed love, she covers “I See a Darkness,” by Bonnie “Prince” Billy. It is the simplest sort of concept album, held together by a single idea: death. Stark and heart-rending, it is almost savage in its melancholy…. music of universal passions.” Pitchfork by Philip Sherburne