Monday, June 27, 2011

Uncommon Teen Musicians

"Nobody leaves this place without singing the blues."  - Albert Collins, Adventures in Babysitting

The music industry likes to pigeonhole artists into particular genres depending on their gender, race, age, and where they come from.  Teens of either gender should sing pop music.  Females should sing pop music or country.  Black females should sing dance music.  White males should sing rock or country.  Black males should rap or sing R&B.  Blues and Soul are only for old people.  Anyone who comes along that deviates from these stereotypes is puzzling to the music industry.  They don’t know how to market their music and consequently these artists don’t get the recognition from the general public that they deserve.

Imagine having three white teens come along, all of whom perform “black” music.  Even worse – two of them are girls.  Even worse than that - two of them are from Fargo, North Dakota and one is from England.  Now imagine this is at the height of the Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, N’Sync, Backstreet Boys phenomenon.  The heads of the music company presidents must have just exploded trying to wrap their brains around the concept.  To give them credit, they knew these teens were talented and signed them to recording deals.

The three people I’m referring to are Blues artists Jonny Lang and Shannon Curfman, and Soul singer Joss Stone.  Of the three, Stone is probably the one more people have heard of because she has had some crossover success.  All of them have left their teenage years behind, but at the time they debuted (Lang in 1997 at 15, Curfman in 1999 at 14, and Stone in 2003 at 16) it was like having three bombs go off.  The reaction was along the lines of “Who was that?!”

Besides being in genres unusual for white teens, they have another thing in common - they are all extraordinarily talented.  I will be discussing each of them in their own posts.  I will also have videos of performances so that you can see their talent for yourself.

You can find my posts for these artists here:

Jonny Lang
Shannon Curfman
Joss Stone

On to the reviews…

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