The three music artists above are listed in no particular order, each one representing, in my opinion, a near perfect example of relevance, integrity, and honesty. I’ll support this, briefly, before ending with a ‘Pop Quiz’ question.
Prince epitomises what it is to be real in the world of bullshitty-entertainment. Yes, there are occasions of him messing up (Batman soundtrack not a high point artistically) but his move from Prince – Symbol (or artist formerly known as prince) – back to Prince tells of a person willing to commit professional suicide in order to stand up for a belief. Prince sacrificed what fame and fortune he had (remember that at the time he was as big as Madonna and Michael Jackson) when he took a stance against his record company.
Chuck D is a great example of a politicised performer refusing to be compromised when fame and fortune hits. I cannot think of, or am just not aware of, an area of Chuck D’s life that does not fit with his particular brand of politics. Chuck D has the advantage of having the kind of morality and wisdom of a latter day Marvin Gaye or a Bob Dylan, but without the early career pandering to music execs that blight Gaye’s and Dylan’s careers (the world is NOT a great big onion).
Mark Oliver Everett (E) has made decisions about his career that fly in the face of pop industry etiquette. His willingness to traverse musical genres, his ability to make joyful music, melancholic music, sometimes just plain weird sounding music, all at the same time speaks of a person who values artistic integrity over the trappings of money and falsity. There is a continuing interest in the human condition that resonates throughout his work. He is fascinated by the everyday. The everyday is not sexy, it does not sell well, but it is real. (And thinking about it this could also be said of Thom Yorke but I’ve picked my three, so…)
Pop Quiz Question:
- Can you name three living artists, still performing, who epitomise the antithesis of the present day music industry, a music industry willing to lull us into listening to insipid lyrics, repetitive sounding tunes, whilst attempting to make us care about some dead-behind-the-eyes-and-ears artist?
 Music artist in this example represents a person who has achieved a certain level of fame and/or fortune and who has had the opportunity to cling on to said fame and/or fortune and who instead has chosen to follow a different path at some point in their career.