I am using Janis Ian’s 1975 classic song “At Seventeen” as the soundtrack for my commentary today. I’m not sure if Janis actually wrote this song at 17 but she certainly wrote “Society’s Child”at 13 and performed it on national television at 16.

For your consideration I wanted to highlight three artists that wrote songs that we are certainly familiar with at the age of 17. My question for discussion is: Is there a 2010 equivalent? Secondly, if there are 17 year olds out there writing material with this depth and substance why are they not being spotlighted as a standard to aspire to? Lastly, why do we have artists over the age of 40 who can’t seem to write with the depth the 17 year olds proved was possible?

The music in no particular order.

The first song Michael ever wrote… not too bad huh?

Yes, George Michael wrote this at 17.

I was pretty much speechless when I discovered that Angela Bofill wrote this at 17.

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.