We were all entertained by music that we thought “truly defined us” at some time; a naïve notion I love, it’s what keeps people, like me, thinking that our artistic expression will someday pay the bills and help pave the way for our legacy. Ah, yes…legacy!
Music experienced from youth is typically the music one continues enjoying and can always fall back on. But I’d like to briefly present my journey as an alternative; a sort of deconstruction of what I thought I loved about music. In my adult life, I have been able to rebuild my interests from the ground up, thus expanding my musical tastes.
It was at a small, Nazarene college in Boston that I was introduced to the music of a man named David Bazan. Before this, I primarily enjoyed ‘underground’ hip-hop and very mainstream rock. But listening to Bazan brought me into the world of indie rock. On first listen, I thought the music was too slow and strange for my palette, but being open to take it in widened the space for my musical taste to mature.
I graduated from Howard University with a bachelor degree in film studies. In each introductory practicum class the same question was asked, “What is more important when expressing oneself, visuals or audio?” I always thought this was a matter of opinion, but after comprising a “pros and cons” list it’s easy to see which takes the lead and drives creative expression. I would give you the answer but I worked too hard for that degree.
When I moved to Washington, DC in 2004 the music scene was free flowing, independent, bass heavy, layered with beautiful vocals, and saturated with soul. I was in deep with the D.C. scene and there was no light in sight. Local producer Kev Brown and the 1978ers [SlimKat78 and Y.U.] were teaming with singers like YahZarah St. James, Bilal Salaam, and Alison Carney.
More popular names such as Musinah (producer/singer noted for working with neo-soul group “The Foreign Exchange”) and Oddisee (producer/rapper who is responsible for iTunes’ best hip-hop album of 2012) were also active in local beat battles and showcases. This scene entirely changed my perspective on being creative.
I have immense love and respect for the craft of music. As an active musician, producer, fan of artistic conveyance, and general audiophile, I can assure anyone reading this that without a willingness to leave behind every comfort and familiarity you’ve built your tastes upon, you will miss out on things that may truly change your life. I encourage all to listen to everything presented to you and search for new sounds you otherwise would not know existed.
About the Author:
Hailing from New Bedford, Mass., Jo-Jo Rose moved to Washington, D.C. where he obtained a bachelor’s degree from Howard University in film studies. Currently Rose makes music under the moniker N()nes and has done production, mixing, and mastering for 10 years.