I was asked by On Point to give them some predictions about what I thought would happen in 2010 - as you know lists aren't really my thing but I had a think about both what I hoped and imagined might happen. What I didn't think would happen is that my hopes would be immediately attacked & misconstrued, as I was informed shortly after the post went up (but that's blog land for you)!
Just in case any of you get the wrong idea when reading this post - many of the artists I write about below are people I work with, and my pride in their progress comes from issues they have expressed to me and how they are overcoming them, and how the industry seems to be changing (gradually) to embrace them. I can say from experience that working as both a woman and a black person in music (and I imagine being in other minority groups and in other industries) it can be a real challenge, even in 2010. Other people who might not have that experience often want to ignore it because from their perspective it doesn't exist (and some might say that can make you part of the problem) - but that doesn't make it any less real!
I'm not sure it's "cruelly ignorant" to praise the progress that the women and artists of African origin I have mentioned are making in music at the moment. I certainly don't suggest that gender or race is what defines them as artists - just that those factors can often come in to play when artists are trying to develop their careers (in ways race and gender shouldn't!), so I think it's great to see so many talented people moving things forward. That's actually less than half of what I wrote the article about but it has unfortunately been turned in to a race and gender issue. Feel free to join in the debate over at On Point >
Female DJs & producers
We've had front runners like Georgia Anne Muldrow, Ikonika, Micachu, Cooly G, Goldielocks and Muhsinah making waves for a while, and this year I have the feeling Nadsroic, Tokimonsta, Eclair Fifi, Ahu, Josey Rebelle and DJ Kunto are names we'll be hearing a lot from. I think it will start to become much more commonplace for emerging female singer songwriters to take more control over their sound, and for women to get so sick of sausage-fest parties they'll get behind the decks more often.
I don't mean the World Cup, I mean Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio), Nneka, Ty, Sade, Eska, Michael Olatuja, Tinashé, David Okumu, Charlie Dark, Tawiah, Kwes, Mpho, Bridgette Amofah, The Cock n Bull Kid, Tanya, Benin City, Beth Mburu and all of the other artists of African descent who are making truly brilliant original black music (that I think & hope will explode throughout 2010); and refreshingly they probably owe more to their parents' record collections and Radiohead than they do to current US R&B and hip hop.
If there's one thing the recession proved it's that a 9-5 doesn't equal job security, and with writers like Steve Pavlina and Seth Godin around I suspect a whole new breed of freelance creatives will emerge, feeling like they may as well try holding two fingers up to "The Man" for once. I mean how hard can it be to learn a bit of CSS, Photoshop, or Logic?
People complained that the 00s were bland and nondescript but in 2009 artists started to look like the love child of Bjork and David Bowie, developed a mysterious secret identity, shaved some of their hair off, and generally had to beg borrow or steal an "alternative" quirk. I think live shows will continue to get more and more elaborate, and the low budget - high return tour will all but disappear as competition for gig revenues increases. I think we'll say goodbye to t-shirt and jeans, backing track PAs, lack-luster performers, and hello to more set, costume and lighting designers, great live bands, brilliant and interesting performances, and painful ticket prices.