I am the child of many eras. I came into the United States in the early 1970s and lived in what is now known as Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. I have many memories, but I specifically remember the blackout in NYC.
The music I can recall outside of my parents' traditional Haitian music was disco, Donna Summers, The Village People and Queen. Then came the 1980s: the graffiti, the birth of rap music, The Sugarhill Gang, Force MD's, Lisa Lisa and The Cult-Jams as well as my favorite, Michael Jackson.
Then the 1990s followed with Prince, Sheena Esteen, Rick James, Teena Marie and Digital Underground.
In the 2000s came the birth of gangster rap, but the balance for me was the political rappers like KRS -1, The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy and Chuck D.
The point I'm making is that music through out my life evolved, changed and impacted the times of each movement that went on politically. Whatever was taking place economically during each time period usually affected the social responses of its people. It gave birth to artists, the music that expressed their feelings and frustrations.
Music crossed waters, transcended race and even economic position. When the media wouldn't let the masses speak or have a voice, you could still hear it in the brave voice of music.
For many people, artists like Marvin Gaye used their voice and musical talents to express their frustration within the society they currently lived in.
So who speaks for our generation? With voices like Kanye West, Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar, is there room for the likes of a Russell Taylor? I say yes. Music in its true sense is as diverse as the members of its band. Each has a particular instrument to create a tune that will work with the other vessels, but still having a distinct sound identifying to its audience.
We caught up with Russell Taylor first in Brooklyn planning his upcoming show at BAM Café this February 8, 2014. Then, as fate has it, we saw him again in Los Angeles at the Grammys! If that's not a sign of great things to come...
This articulate, well-groomed young man has a fashion wardrobe as diverse as his tone. We first met him in a long denim coat. Next, we saw him rock a white Tuxedo jacket that Tom Ford would be proud of.
We asked him what artist most influenced him and his response both shocked me and confirmed what I already knew of him from celebrity chef Rodney LoveJones (whom initially made our introduction one year prior at a brunch and gifted all his guests with a copy of his CD, which I still cherish).
So even back then his savory tunes captured me.
Now my only contribution to society in the music world is to introduce him to my audience so I can have a small piece of glory in being able to say I met him, shared a meal with him, and gave him a manicure with the ranks of P. Diddy, Idris Elba, Gabriel Byrne and Mathew Broderick to name a few. When I am done working here, and all I have is my memories of my life and great career, this will be one of the moments to reflect on.
Happy listening and catch the next generation of great tune makers. The Grammys may be over, but the cycle is still spinning!