It's Not Only Rock 'n' Roll by Jenny Boyd

It's Not Only Rock 'n' Roll by Jenny Boyd

Author:Jenny Boyd [Jenny Boyd]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781782197911
Publisher: John Blake
Published: 2013-04-13T16:00:00+00:00


Musicians as Role Models

Recognising their responsibility to their listeners, numerous musicians discussed the ultimate meaning behind what they do as artists. Jazz drummer Tony Williams elaborated on his own role as an African-American musician. ‘I don’t have to write a song about war or racism; that’s not what music is to me. Music is above all that. Just me being here, being a jazz musician, is [in itself] a political statement. Because jazz comes out of the experience of being black in America – and that is a political statement.’

As one of the very few female drummers in the jazz world, Terri Lyne Carrington sees her role as that of encouraging others that they, too, can overcome hurdles: ‘In the last few years I’ve come to feel like I encourage people – women and younger people – with my playing. And that’s really what it’s about for me. People come up to me, and I can see it in their eyes; they really feel encouraged, like it’s something they always wanted to do but didn’t. Or they see something in me that encourages them. I started seeing what a deep effect you can have on people, when they see you and admire you, that they can do something.’

Keyboardist Greg Phillinganes, who’s played with numerous artists including Michael Jackson, pointed to the duty that musicians have because of their music’s power: ‘There’s a responsibility because people are greatly affected by what you do. I know people don’t want to believe in hidden powers or hidden messages behind music, but I believe that. I think it greatly affects people, and it’s a responsibility. How can you account for the appeal that Michael [Jackson] had with the kids? I think it’s positive; babies from six months to 16 love his stuff. He’s got a serious thing with the babies. I think it’s very powerful.’

Keith Strickland holds himself accountable for his part as a role model to youth: ‘Particularly in rock music, there are young people listening, and I’m aware they sometimes will be listening to us more than, say, their parents. Fans look up to you, and in that sense, it’s a big influence we have with what we’re saying in our songs. I’m very concerned; it’s a big responsibility there.’

Kirsty MacColl told me that she strongly believed songs should address political and social issues in their own unique way: ‘Some people say art and politics shouldn’t mix. But politics is everything. It’s part of life. The only way you can change things is by changing governments or whatever. I think it’s up to people who are creative to make a stand about those things they believe strongly in. But it’s very boring if you hit people over the head with a message all the time. You can be subtle about it so people think they thought of it in the first place.’

As a songwriter, Sinéad O’Connor sees it as her role to give expression to difficult emotions, thereby enabling people whose feelings



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