I was recently on Minnesota Public Radio as part of a roundtable discussing music and how listening to it has changed over the years. It was hosted by the awesome and brilliant Kerri Miller and my co-roundtablers were singer/songwriter Chastity Brown and gospel singer, Jovonta Patton. I was really impressed with both Chastity and Jovonta. They had great insights into the music they love and were very open-minded during the conversation.
MPR had asked us to bring in 2 songs each and there was virtually no constraints as to what we brought in or why. It was overwhelming to try to think of the 2 most important songs in my life so instead I bookended my life with a song from Kiss : Destroyer, the first record I had ever bought and a song from Ingrid Michaelson, the latest record I’ve purchased.
Kiss wrote a few good rock and roll songs and there is no question they influenced the music business. But musically they are certainly not in my Top 10.
The other song I played was Hell No by Ingrid Michaelson. This was the first single from her latest record (as of this writing) It Doesn’t Have To Make Sense.
Musically speaking I adore Ingrid Michaelson. She is an incredible songwriter and perfect singer. Some of my favorites songs are Sort Of, Turn To Stone, Over You, Time Machine, Hell No, Keep Breathing, Do It Now and Soldier.
Kerri Miller wasn’t too impressed with either of my songs, which I thought made good radio. (But what do I know? Nothing.) I have been meaning to point out to Kerri that Ingrid has much more compelling songs, even though I am a big fan of Hell No. I think Sort Of is one of the most simple, amazing and well-crafted songs ever. But her catalog is diverse and I hope you check her out.
I used to work for Prince. I’ve met famous people. I’m not scared of famous people. But I’ve also learned part of what we feel as fans is infatuation. Prince hated the word “fan” because it comes from the word “fanatic”, which is generally not used affectionately. The sense that an artist is a soul mate is not real, just like that mushy feeling you get when you watch romantic comedies is not real. While I’m 100% convinced that Ingrid Michaelson and I would be best friends (and just a reminder, Ms. Michaelson, I am happily married), that’s not the relationship we have. I’m cool with that. The dark side of “fandom” is you start to put expectations on an artist. You want them to look a certain way or not change in certain ways but do change in others. It hurts us, the listeners and fans of musicians, when we no longer accept and admire but start to demand things.
So shine on you crazy diamond. We’ll be listening.
PS – I have a couple of lyric corrections for you. In Sort Of clearly you meant to say “the truth entails” and in Into You you meant to say “just a girl in a tomb”.
PSS – I apologize for the above PS.