Minority Rule: A New, Younger Age For The Music Industry

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By Erin Christie

Seniority rule. We’ve all heard of the idea that, in terms of skill and professionalism, those who have been in the field longer are more reliable all-in-all. But is this completely true?

It should come as no surprise that, in the eyes of industry big-wigs, turning to seasoned musicians is a safer choice, as opposed to taking a chance on newcomers. Unfortunately, age plays a huge role in terms of gaining a supportive eye – especially when, in many areas of expertise, being young is considered a bad thing.

Why is this? Personally, I have no idea, and it’s beyond frustrating.

Regardless, despite the fact that there is a distinct stigma and bitterness being directed toward younger artists today, it is worth noting that there is also a sense of support coming from an eager audience. As a young person myself, seeing people of my age group succeeding in such a large industry is incredibly empowering and amazing to witness – it opens up a lane for hope, that, despite our lacking years, people our age don’t lack talent or worthiness for recognition.  

A young artist that immediately comes to mind is Christian Besa Wright- a poetic name attached to a picturesque talent. His incredibly soft-spoken, beautifully written singles- of which he only has three on Spotify thus far- make for the perfect soundtrack for a rainy afternoon, staring at the ceiling, and reminiscing on lost love or what could be.  His latest single, “Cherry Blossom Oak,” is soothingly sweet. “Growing up is so uncomfortable,” he croons as a backdrop of melodic guitar and piano unfolds. Aside from his dreamy vocals, the young talent proves that even when just starting out, time has nothing to do with success- as he progresses, who’s to know what kind of masterpieces he’ll be able to create?

One of my personal favorite artists, about to head out on tour with the iconic Belle & Sebastian, is Snail Mail.  Fronted by the living legend herself, Lindsey Jordan, Snail Mail is anything but ordinary- unlike the rate of actual snail mail, Jordan’s unapologetically loud energy is something to be reckoned with and has risen to the top at a quick rate. Being heavily guitar- inspired is anything but a downside, adding to the often charismatic, but sometimes melancholy, vibe exhibited throughout her releases. Alex Bass and Ray Brown join her on tour playing bass and drums and together, they’re absolutely unstoppable.  

I can’t spend my college years onstage, for I unfortunately lack the musical talent of the artists mentioned here. Emerson College, located in the heart of Boston, has become my home for the next four years, and being in such a vastly diverse and talent-filled city, it is no surprise that I have already stumbled upon some immensely wonderful peers who are tackling the music scene at full force.

My Emerson peers that have joined together to form a band called Squitch have absolutely stolen my heart- their debut record, Uncle Steve in Spirit, was recently released (and is available on any streaming platform you can think of). Throughout my year at Emerson, I made a point to attend as many house gigs as I could, especially if Squitch was to be performing – their purely genuine energy creates a buzz unlike any other. DIY shows are an entirely different breed – curated for youth, by youth, and ultimately, a place where youth can exhibit their musical prowess. And Squitch, as well as many others, thrive through this platform.

Even with my love for them – and clear bias – aside, it absolutely blows my mind to know that a group of individuals could be so unapologetically amazing and skillful in their craft, alongside dealing with classes, jobs, and the other stresses that come with being an adolescent in the year 2018.

Another local Boston legend, Sidney Gish, is making headlines and making waves not only with her sick tunes but with her impending run with bands Petal and Camp Cope this summer. Starting out small, only to rise quickly thanks to Spotify’s Discover Weekly feature, attention from the Globe, and word of mouth, Gish has gained much well-deserved credit for her undisputed talent. Alongside her attendance at Boston’s Northeastern University, Gish is a frequent NYC-traveler and world-class musician in the making.

Many young artists have taken to the “lo-fi” or “bedroom pop” genre to hone their craft, as this area of engineering is largely DIY-based and much more accessible than in-studio work.  With that said, this does not mean that these artists have taken an easier route or are not as worthy of praise or approval.

Recently, there has been a controversy over whether or not critically- acclaimed artist, Clairo, can truly be called self- made or not based on the fact that her fast fame likely had a lot to do with the fact that she has direct relation to the CEO of Converse. However, a truly self-made artist who deserves just as much attention as Clairo, if not more, is beabadoobee. Bea, first recognized for her cover of “The Moon Song” from the stunning fim Her, has only continued to release stunner after stunner. Her most recent single (which was also accompanied by a music video), “Susie May,” is sickeningly wholesome and soft to the touch.

Young artists, no matter from where they arise or how they compose their discography, are truly commendable.  Adversity coming from all sides can easily prevent and discourage upcoming musicians to even attempt making it in the scene, especially with discouragement from authority figures claiming that music is a “fruitless career-choice” or that it’s impossible to achieve one’s dreams- with that said, though, there is a treasure trove of teens and 20-somethings proving that stereotype wrong.

Other young artists that are worthy of being mentioned:

  • DOGBITE: comprised of my dear pal, Nicole Kezdy, Chloe Frances, and Asher White – sweet and harsh at the same time, this trio’s bark AND bite are as strong as they may appear – keep an eye out for more content from them!

  • Jakob Ogawa: whose trippy, angelic vocals accompanied by heavy reverb and swirling riffs make for the perfect afternoon blend

  • The Regrettes: comprised of LA-frontrunners Lydia Knight, Genessa Gariano, and Sage Chavis – their punk-recalling, femme angst rings clear in the greatest way possible, making for the creation of candy-coated head-bangers alongside intimate odes to the best parts of the world

Andrew Muccitelli: whose debut record, Fear of Intimacy, was just recently released – his vocals are truly some of the most heavenly I’ve ever had the honor to hear