Evolution.

(Mohinder voiceover) Music. The beast. The industry. A time when artists must make choices. Evolve…or perish.

From the AP/Forbes magazine:

I think it's time to buy Taylor a new jacket.  Eggplant is your color, doll.He spent the summer touring the country with his fellow “Idol” finalists. When the concert wrapped in September, Hicks began his tutelage with legendary music mogul Clive Davis to craft an album that would be a fitting follow to his star-making “Idol” turn.

It was an “intimidating” experience, Hicks said, describing himself as “stubborn about my artistry and my creative integrity.” But he’s happy with the result. The album’s 12 tracks “a great representation of me as an artist,” he said.

Davis said he helped Hicks “define who he is.”

“He’s a modern soul man,” Davis said. “But we have stretched him a little. He’s getting in touch with other aspects of music and his versatility.”

The album sounds like “modern whomp music,” Hicks said.”

“It’s like funk, soul, jazz, blues, a little bit of hip-hop beats and rhythms,” he said. “It’s Taylor Hicks’ modern take on soul music.”

…”He has a similar approach to soul singers of the past. They just throw themselves at the song,” [producer Matt] Serletic said. “It informs where the record needs to go.”

He encouraged Hicks to embrace “a more disciplined melodic approach” and showed him how to “sculpt” a song.”

The thought of Clive Davis helping any artist define “who they are” is laughable. Musicality centers so much around self-definition–uniqueness is what merits an artist critical acclaim, even if the sales don’t go hand-in-hand with it. Clive’s comment about Taylor having “stretched a little” and getting in touch with his “versatility” are an obvious example of how true creative artistry takes a backseat to the almighty dollar, as by “versatility,” Davis most surely means “the ability to spit out a treacly pop ballad.” Otherwise, why not let Taylor stay true to soul?

Serletic’s comments are equally as disturbing–not so much because of their implications for Taylor’s album (which came out fine, probably due to whatever creative control Taylor fought for and eventually did receive), but their implications for music in general–that there’s only one acceptable way to make music, and that’s the “traditional” song style. These people would have had aneurisms trying to wrap their brains around Taylor’s 1997 recording of “In Your Time.”

Davis’s, Serletic’s, and Taylor’s own comments (noting that his dealings with Davis were “intimidating”) pussyfoot around the fact that there was obviously some struggling going here for control. Taylor made out okay in the end, likely thanks to his stubborn streak and the precedental horror that is The Real Thing. But it’s still a sad day for the music industry–and for consumers–when an amazing performer with 10 years’ experience and the Idol viewers’ vote (which came from many who fell in love with his distinct and unusual sound and style) is forced, or even merely asked, to shuck his spirit, his quirks, and his unusualness in favor of “tradition.”

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3 Responses to “Evolution.”


  1. 1 baxter December 11, 2006 at 10:08 pm

    The good the bad and the ugly…well not too much!! Reviews are actually looking fairly positive.

    Great job!!!

  2. 2 SunnyLovesSoul December 13, 2006 at 6:56 am

    Your ‘Mohinder’ reference, perfect. Hah! Hero indeed the one to emerge from a recording experience with Clive and the “family Idol” with still some semblance of who they are as a musician. I knew coming into this recording process The Soulman would not let them “Bice” him. CD could have been better but overall it’s light years ahead of “The Real Thing”. Saving grace, he’s been putting an alternative spin on the tunes he’s performed live making them better than the recordings. Bice should have worked that route early on instead of sticking note for note to the way Clive and co. laid them out.

  3. 3 AmyH December 13, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    I liked that article quite a bit, but I was confused on the Clive references as well. Taylor has always spoken well of him, but I wonder how much of that is respect and how much is fear?

    I was thinking about this just yesterday:

    “But it’s still a sad day for the music industry–and for consumers–when an amazing performer with 10 years’ experience and the Idol viewers’ vote (which came from many who fell in love with his distinct and unusual sound and style) is forced, or even merely asked, to shuck his spirit, his quirks, and his unusualness in favor of “tradition.””

    It’s funny, isn’t it? America fell in love with Taylor the way he is – quirky, chubby, goofy, different. Yet, the record producers and “handlers” in L.A. want to reign all that in. Seems counterproductive to me.


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