Daisy Jane

I’m writing this post partially out of inspiration and partly out of being somewhat miffed. My miffery(is that a word? lol) is because I get really bothered when I read the ideas of persons who claim to be experts in a field yet they posit ideas that are often devoid of a complete contextual picture because they are too busy advancing an agenda that logic and reason often leave the room. Now at this post you may be asking yourself why have I posted a screencap of lyrics from America’s 1975 composition “Daisy Jane” and then the song itself? Well… if you just listen you will undeniably hear the influence that this particular song had on a song that is held in high esteem in the canon of Black Music – Janet Jackson’s “Let’s Wait A While”.

If you’ve every had the opportunity to read, view or listen to an interview with Jimmy Jam (I had the pleasure of interviewing him myself) he talks extensively of the influence of AM Radio and Pop music on his musicianship and his writing and production. In the early to mid 1970’s numerous Pop/Rock (some may even say Soft Rock) groups in the vein of America held sway over the radio dial. The influence that these artists had on Black Artists is undeniable – you could simply stop at The Isley Brother’s 1971 Opus Giving It Back if you wanted to illustrate the two street that inspiration is or you could bring to mind that one of the greatest writers of song of all time Steveland Morris went on the record to state that “Living For The City” is an outgrowth of his fondness for Blood, Sweat & Tears “Summer In The City”.

The point is this… we know how incredibly influential Black Music has been on the totality of American Music. Black Music is quite simply at the core of the sound of all music created in this country whether people want to acknowledge it or not. Where I have a problem, a beef if you will is when folks discuss this great music and its creators as if somehow they created music in a vacuum. Many are so quick to point out the influence of Black Music ( and rightfully so given the sordid history of non-attribution, the Pat Boone effect etc., etc.,) but for me you lose all credibility when you don’t acknowledge that the influence at times can run the other way and create something that moves the music further – just from that little bit of influence that adds something different to the pot.

I titled this post “Inspiration Is Everywhere” because I believe it truly is… I also believe that if you truly want to be inspired and create art that helps the music progress you need to spend some time listening, learning, analyzing and creating music that comes from “outside” so that when you bring it inside and put your proverbial spin on it something new and beautiful is birthed.

“As many proclaim content is King, I serve as a reminder that context is Grown!”

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.