Between the Old and New

Often I feel that’s why I’m stuck. Mid-life crisis? Maybe. It’s very easy to point out that persons in my age range are the last generation (as far as Black Music is concerned) to grow up with musicians playing traditional instruments as the rule, not the exception. This is not a question of right or wrong. It is simply a statement of fact that in the 1970’s to the early 1980’s music was made in a certain way by a certain type of musician. Technology changed all of that.

So the quandary for me usually begins with the question of how and in what manner will I create? I think that question is problematic because as I stated earlier there is no right or wrong. But often I feel the pressure to create in a “legitimate” manner. But legitimate to whom is the real question. What’s really sad is that this is a debate over tools not craftsmanship. What really matters most is what does the end product sound like not necessarily how you arrived at that end.

Where I get stuck is: What does 2016 sound like? It’s very easy for me to sound like 1976 or ’86, or ’96 because I lived through those times and they have a definite sound. I purposely left 2006 out because I’m not quite sure if we’re far away enough from that year to accurately gauge its “sound”. Or, to be quite honest did 2006 have a sound?

Below you will find an interview with Timbaland that he recently did with Ebro and Rosenberg on Hot 97. I’ve definitely been inspired by Tim’s progressive philosophy. I believe it’s necessary and I believe that it can certainly help me get out of this funk. I’m not necessarily interested in making music for the kids or for wide appeal, but I’m here, I’m alive and have experiences in this time so why shouldn’t I make an effort to have my creativity reflect that? Maybe it’s not so much about being Old School or New but as Doug E. Fresh eloquently put it “No School” might be the move.

P.S. The discussion around the young folks not listening to radio is one of my favorite parts of this segment. It’s so true, I see it in my own child who is such a Digital Native.

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.