On the heels of their debut as the house band on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Roots’ Questlove posted on his website an entry titled “How to Find Music You’ll Fall in Love With” It’s a quick and really great read. I feel like while I may be younger than Questlove, discovering music for the two of us was very similar.
Just like Quest, it all goes back to my parents – years of Earth, Wind and Fire, Chicago, Steely Dan, Donna Summer, The Doobie Brothers, The Beatles and oh yes, The Rolling Stones which was the first concert my parents took me to when I was 7. Growing up we had vinyl and reel to reel, cassettes where the hot thing when I was a child (my brother had too many and turned me on to a LOT of music) but then came the CD. My first, Nirvana – Nevermind. I grew up in the era of Columbia House and BMG and scrounging to find bootleg copies of live Dave Matthews Band shows. I recall listening to CDs on repeat until I knew every song and every lyric and sitting at the stereo trying to make mixtapes. To this day I have books-and-books of CDs.
When I went to college, Napster was all the rage and burning CDs became too easy. Adios mixtapes and hello mix CDs. Napster really when you think of it, changed the game along with iTunes and the iPod. From that moment you didn’t need to buy or download the whole album, you just grabbed what you liked and like that, there was so many one hit wonders. Something that’s still existing today. I’m guilty as anyone. With Pandora and Spotify, I listen to what I want, when I want and my tastes for music spans really far and my attention span of really getting into an artist has slacked. Sure I still find time to listen to some of my favorites like DMB, O.A.R., The Black Crowes, Allman Brothers but I’m always searching for new music which diverts me from really diving head first into some of these new bands. It’s not a bad thing though because I’m constantly expanding my ear for music and discovering more and more.
I think for me, besides good music I like a great story behind the music; take twenty one pilots or Grouplove for instance. Do a Google search and see how those bands came to be, their stories may surprise and inspire you.
But above anything else, as Questlove posed, “how do you fall in love with music today?” I covet live music. I’m a concert junkie and I love it. Being at a live show is what it’s all about. It could be at a festival with 100,000 fans or in a tiny dive bar with 10. It could be the hottest band on earth or a band you never heard of. Music is powerful, just let your ears and mind be open and the tunes will let you know what you like.
There’s so much amazing music out there and now more ways to discover than ever before. Happy discovering!