Music on The Mind: Appreciation of the artist

Jon Ball, Staff Reporter

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The singers and bands we hold near and dear have impacted our lives in myriad ways. Their lyrics have comforted us in times of breakups or failed exams. The melodies they composed have energized our bodies to move along with the rhythm. Their fashion influenced our physical message to the world and terrified our parents in result. Mom and dad could not wrap their heads around the difference between a fan base and a Satanic cult or a gaggle of hooligans. Despite this hostility from those who misunderstand, the artists we appreciate provide us a sense of confidence to take on the world. Our favorite musicians have much more to offer you and me than the music they create. They present a message accompanied by a story influenced by their personal experiences. However, many are unaware of the details that go into making the music. I have encountered an uncomfortable number of individuals who consider themselves fans of musicians and in fact know very little about them. A person cannot fully appreciate an artist until they discover the background that inspired the craft in the first place.

Hardship has won the title of the most influential reason to create art. Music has the delightfully uncanny ability to share one’s troubles. The late soul singer Charles Bradley comes to mind when I think of an artist who sings about his troubling past. Bradley did not care if he was interviewed by nationally recognized radio station or up-and-coming music blog. He poured his heart out to the interviewer about the struggles he endured in his life. Whether it be discussing the loss of his brother to gun violence or his love of Diana Ross, Bradley enthusiastically shared details about his private life and his past. Therefore, fans of Bradley, myself included, have developed a special fondness for him and have felt nothing but sympathy for his tragic past. Bradley passed away September 2017 after his battle with stomach cancer at age 68. He released only three albums but managed to touch the hearts of thousands in a shocking period of six years. I could not control my tears when I heard of his passing. I never met him in person, but between his music and his interviews I felt I knew him well.

The tiniest of details can bring musicians closer to their fans. Benjamin Burnley of the band Breaking Benjamin suffers from multiple phobias, such as a fear of heights. Tom Araya of the band Slayer is an avid fan of classic horror films. Morrissey, former front man of The Smiths, is a vegetarian. These are all simple characteristics of everyday attributes that allow someone to develop a sense of closeness with a musician. The craft of the artists becomes more appreciated as well as analyzed in effect. These act as the first steps in the transformation from a mere fan to true admirer.