Prince

I have nothing but the utmost respect musically for Prince. His body of work is beyond incredible and his latest release “Screwdriver” I believe is just what the doctor ordered: Just good old fashioned music making stripped down to the essential elements. It may seem simplistic but it’s actually harder to do than some of the music created that covers everything up.

However, I must admit that I have to part ways with Prince opinion wise on his thoughts regarding: art/music. Recently, in the New Music Express Prince was quoted (in reference to Maroon 5 covering his hit “Kiss”): “Art is about building a new foundation, not just laying something on top of what’s already there.” I don’t summarily disagree with Prince’s entire statement. In fact I’m definitely an advocate for forging and creating a new foundation for music, but at the same time how might one reach that level of ability? Perhaps by being intimately involved with what’s come before. Prince is Prince but there are a ton of influences that we can point to from James Brown to Sly Stone to Joni Mitchell that make up the foundation that has become Prince. Do I think the world needs another cover of “Kiss”? Probably not, but at the same time I realize that often the entrance point to the real art is through the commercial introduction.

In order to break the rules effectively, I believe that you must in fact know the rules first. To build something new perhaps we should acquaint ourselves with what came before and then make our departure to our new destination. Truth be told, there’s not an act (Prince included) playing popular music that doesn’t build on the foundation of the Blues… but that’s another blog for another day.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.