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A legendary producer and one of music’s most influential figures, Quincy Jones, recently linked up with The National to discuss his thoughts on the current state of hip-hop, the sentimental rewards that reap from discovering new talent and discuss how music today is more about selling products rather than creating quality sound:
Music has gone so far down lately because everyone is going after the money. People are making songs to sell all sorts of things such as tyres, clothes and alcohol. When you go after the money, God walks out of the room, trust me. I never went out after the fame and money. I was just doing what I loved and the money came. You gotta do what you love and really believe in it because that is your truth. I plan to stay like that.
Comparing his own musical era, which showcased artists like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson, to the musical era that we live in today, Jones noted that although there are good singers out there, there are figures in the industry who he simply can’t wrap his head around.
Let’s get real, man. When you come from the era of Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson, it gets hard to get used to Lil Wayne. I just can’t handle it. There are some good singers out there. Mary J Blige can sing, so can Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera. I know who they are. I also know who they aren’t, too.
Skrillex may have been granted a special mention, but it is the electronic music industry overall and the subsequent star status of the DJ that poses an issue to Jones, as these days a lone individual producer can gain more attention than entire rock groups.
I don’t like techno at all. That’s just noise. I can try it because there is nothing to it but I just don’t think there is anything to learn from it. Now all these DJs are making more money than rock groups. They don’t even need bands anymore. People such as Skrillex and those guys get half a million to a million dollars a show all over the world from Las Vegas to Brazil. As a musician it is extremely frustrating. Because that’s just music to sell products.
According to this article, electronic music is the only genre of 2014 that is currently on a significant rise, but you can share your own thoughts on the topic in the comments below.
Full interview: here.