Music Exchange: Putting out the fire with gasoline

Music Exchange: Putting out the fire with gasoline

Those six words seem to have stuck in my head the entire week, with the untimely passing of ‘The Thin White Duke’, best known as the late, great, David Bowie.
Maybe it has to do with my rebellious streak and ‘change the world’ attitude, I had whist at UCT in 1983, when the album Let’s Dance was released, or was it the fact that David Bowie died at such a young age? The same age as my dad…

What is undiminished is the wonderful creative work he has left behind, a true legacy. The way he reinvented himself, the way he composed music like no other. The artist worked in different places in the world to find that creative spark, these are just some of the many reasons why all is so inspiring when you look back at his career.
Bowie even starred in a movie with our very own composer Trevor Jones, who wrote the music for the Jim Henson movie, ‘Labyrinth’. The imagination and invention seemed to have no limits? Was Bowie doing all this for commercial success, or was he feeding his own creativity – as Maslow would say to self-actualise?

By Martin Myers

By Martin Myers

My humble opinion is Bowie was being creative for himself first. He did not care what others thought. He saw trends before us ordinary folk did, and paid homage to them in song.
I am sad to say I have yet to find a South African artist who has had such a similar effect on the artistic landscape of our country. Sure Johnny Clegg has gone from Juluka to Savuka, then to Johnny Clegg, but essentially the narrative is the same, albeit a truly world class one.

Nataniél is another creative thinking artist, but still within his confines of what he understands. He plays it safe. Die Antwoord…do they fit the bill? Who else springs to mind? Not all artists are created like Bowie, but surely we can come up with some more names. Or are we, as a country, always looking for the safe, feel-good option?
On another note reading Time Magazine last week, I observed the consumer patterns in USA, with businesses such as Postmates, Lyft, Task Rabbit, Zirx, Caviar and Handy, never mind Uber, which is now valued at over $60 billion. It is the fastest growing start-up in history (source: Time Magazine, 18 January 2016), along with Airbnb. Each is making huge inroads on the way we are consuming goods and services and it got me dreaming.

What are creative types doing to make fans purchase that album and stay connected? It’s a given the song must be a hit, as discussed in last week’s article, but how are you, as an artist, giving a piece of creativity away in a clever way that makes fans want to come back for more? I don’t know the answer. If I did, I would be the next Bill Gates.
Call me a dreamer, but an ignoramus I am not. What I do know, for sure, is the cost of data needs to drop drastically and Wi–Fi needs to be a working reality. As a friend of mine from Melbourne mentioned, we are operating in the dark ages.
Maybe it’s time to put the fire out with gasoline?