Written By: Damion J. Jackson
As a lover of music and growing up in the post -era of the Motown sound, I was privy to all the music in my family household my parents played daily. From the Temptations, O’Jays, Aretha Franklin, The Dells, Delfonics, Marvin Gaye, Rick James, Teena Marie, Lou Rawls, The Whispers, The Commodores, Glady’s Knight, and one of my hometown favorites The Spinners, just to name of few.
The list of groups and artist are way to many to go on without given credit to how important the genius of Mr. Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson, on how they birthed what we called today R&B ( Rhythm & Blues). The voices we hear today who laid the foundation for many artists today. We come to a real bump in the road. In the last ten years and to current day we have lost some true pioneers who have left their musical mark here on this earth.
Which leads me to this with the death of Prince and many like him like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, James Brown, Gerald Levert, and Mr. Nick at Night, one of the silent writers and group members to the legendary group the Whispers. We are entering an era of artist or groups that will become extinct because there are no record companies or managers who are signing young artist with development deals like that of Boys II Men which was the brain child of Mr. Michael Bivins from New Edition.
Being born in the early seventies, I along with many other seventy babies have had the pleasure of been privy to blue light in the basement parties under the watch of our parents, family, and friends. To cruising in deuce and a quarter automobiles with your parents or with your favorite uncle or older cousin listening to music greats like Curtis Mayfield, Barry White, and Issac Hayes. These greats brought a tremendous sound to this era growing up in the seventies and eighties. Let alone we have not even touch basis on the many great producers and engineers who played the background scene, to make these musicians be who they were over the years. It is unfortunate that this generation of youngsters will not have that musical genre like that of the sixties, seventies, and eighties.
In closing, I ask if there are any record executives out there, to please look into artist development again, and take it seriously, and don’t be so quick to shelf the artist is they don’t take off as fast as you would like them to do. Remember it took years before the Temptations took off, and New Edition went through their ebbs and flows through their thirty years in the business.
A Real Great Music Lover
I’ve always had dreams of making it big in the music industry since I could remember. But upon moving to Hollywood and having those dreams become real Major Deal possibilities for me, my dreams quickly turned into devastating nightmares. Reason being, as an artist and writer, I quickly began to notice I was more so in an industrialized musical meat market; where the music only mattered if it fit a certain criteria suitable to their “meat-marketing” agendas. With that being said, my talent was often disregarded, or neglected, because I didn’t look like some plastic mainstream anorexic barbie doll.. I know much has changed with artists such as Jill Scott, Kelly Price, so on and so on being embraced into the scene… but that type of thing is always more so on the unusual side; unusual for artists to be able to come out and be supported as they truly ARE. Don’t get me wrong, many artists do understand that businesses are created in hopes of gaining the highest levels of monetary gain, but we must not also forget the powerful influence of the entertainment industry. They set the trends, as well as are the main influences of society and the world, setting the stage on how artists are to be received by the world. If a music label is going to be complimentary to an artist in providing growth, it should be done genuinely without any ulterior motives. It should be because they would like to say, “We feel really good and proud to be apart of the reason why this artist was successful and able to flourish and thrive as a human being, sharing such amazing gifts of talent to this world. Because of this, we are honored.” Instead, artists are looked upon as property, music industry slaves signed to life draining and suffocating contracts, without any essential guidance upon signing… just a bunch of manipulative sharks all trying to eat off a plate that has yet to be properly prepared and served. There’s no doubt whatsoever that Music is Soul Food; meant to inspire, heal, uplift, and change the world for the better, and music should be treated as such. Those who see it as any other way are part of the problem and not the solution. Until the music industry develops a brilliant integrity, it will only be of aid in directing artists away from their true selves and purposes in life, as well as continuing to create nightmares out of innocent dreamers… destroying instead of helping to develop musical character and careers.
As an Artist, my perspective of the music business has been quite uncomfortable. As much talent, music and creativity that’s locked up inside of me, and others we desire execution but can’t because of limited assistance and guidance here in Detroit. Artists are struggling, being robbed of their gifts and talents and have to fend for themselves. Very few artists have attained longevity and success with their music career and have to grind harder than desired to see results. Social media have shut down and decreased business at some labels, and Integrity has been lost due to associations and ones love for money. Many celebrities have lost their good name even their lives because they no longer want to protect the names and associations of companies that have wronged and destroyed the lives and reputations of so many people.
On the other end, there’s a gleam of light . The light that gives all of us starving artists’ hope. The light that promised us that our gifts will make room for us! The hope that keeps us searching , trying and believing. The fire in us to execute, sing, dance and perform continues to burn and so we keep living, applying, hoping, praying and trusting that in spite of the injustices that have been done to most of us all, we will have a universal platform to share our gifts of gold with the world. The desire to enlighten, Enrich, to inspire, empower and liberate the hearts and souls of many. This is my passion. My perspective and purpose. Selah
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