Since I first started Level 3, I have learnt how to analyse the compositions of songs in-depth and learnt how to research reviews by critics of songs that changed the world. I have expanded my taste in music from one or two genres to a more diverse array of artist and genres.
I have continued playing my music to the respective selected audience to allow them to listen and give their critical feedback. Whilst I was already showing my music to others, my confidence has grown considerably when it comes to presenting new work e.g. presenting experimental compositions.
I have become more receptive to critique from my peers and I have also become a more confident source of feedback to others. I am really happy with the progress I have made and I hope to continue to learn new challenges of experimenting genres with videos that I will make rather than using someone’s work.
2. Project concept
For my project concept, I am proposing to make a dance music video with the crossover style song incorporating the influences that I have outlined such as Afrobeats and House music for a pirpose of cultural diversity. My chosen two artists I selected are M.I.A. and Fuse ODG, both of whom are known for incorporating many different styles within their work. My inspiration of the idea came from listening to M.I.A and Fuse’s songs. Mostly for the music video idea, I watched a dance video by Eugy and Mr. Eazi collaborative song called ‘Dance for Me (Dab)’.
M.I.A. was influenced by the style of Caribbean music mixed with Gospel, Diwali and Jungle rhythms. M.I.A. demonstrates several different skills such as her ability to mix hip-hop with the sounds of her Sri Lanka roots. Another skill that this artist demonstrates is her unique singing/rapping voice. M.I.A.’s style of music is both mix of hip-hop with a Bollywood fusion which is progressive and energetic. This artist uses her music to protest against the government in her own country of Sri Lanka.
Fuse ODG has a unique set of skills due to his background, growing up in London and Ghana. These skills are demonstrated on his tracks, where his Grime and Afrobeats influences are mixed to create lively, energetic and colorful songs. Another skill demonstrated by this artist is his ability to use his music as a platform to showcase TINA (This Is New Africa) to a wide audience.
Both of these artists are known as crossover musicians. Crossover music is a genre that involves the use of music or samples from different genres or cultures. Whilst crossover music can be associated with cultural issues such as collecting original ethnic sounds and using them in their music. This has also allows music to reach larger audiences.
My plan is to demonstrate a dance music video with dancers exhibiting different moves to my song, which blends two genres of Afrobeats and House music. I hope that the influences from the above artists are evident in my song. I will plan out meeting schedules with the dance company that I am in contact with, so we can meet up weekly for rehearsals before going into video shooting. I created the song by using Logic Pro X, with the attention of distributing the music video on my YouTube channel. I will share this video through social media to get everyone’s attention and feedback. My intention is to unveil the song and the video in a public place and to create an event around it. This will also help to create a buzz and hopefully generate interest in my music and myself as an artist.
My aim is to create the same vibe as in the video of Dance For Me, whilst putting my own twist on it. Although I would not have any access to high end video equipment, I belived I could still produce something of quality to present for my FMP final outcome, perhaps, in the future I would be able to fund and expand the scale of this music video project.
I have decided to design and produce a music video for my FMP, I feel within myself that such a project will present a challenge for me, and that it would enable me to implement the new skills such as time management, I have learnt this skill throughout my level 3 music production course. I once made a shot a film, where I learnt various skills such as lighting, how to set up a camera and editing. These skills have helped me to gain a good understanding of filming and imagery. By incorporating these skills, along with my knowledge of music, I feel confident that my concept for this project will work.
Although this will be a new and exciting experience for me, I’m sure there will be many obstacles, for example it may take many attempts to perfect the sound in my song. A steep learning curve might be when making a music video, the process will be different to making a short/feature film. But it will also give me the stage to showcase my skills and passion for music. I plan to have a public screening of the end product, and also upload it to YouTube and other popular social media websites relative to the music industry.
I was first inspired when a freind of mine introduced me to a music video by Eugy & Mr. Eazi’s song called ‘Dance For Me (Dab)’. I have provided the link below.
I really liked the video and something about it capured my imagination, I kept watching it over and over again. The thing that particularly caught my attentioin about the music video was the dance routines, and how they seemed to be synchronisd with the beats, and tranistioned cleanly from shot to shot in multiple shots. I also liked the colours change in various shots, giving the video an urban vibe. What also added to the video was the locations, in the initial scene they drive into an indusrial looking site where they enter a building to film the video. The backgrounds they are dancing against are bricked walls and white washed walls, on some shots they have also added a a coloured filter. The video really inspired me because of its cultural diversity, the dancers are from array of ethnic and cultural backgrounds and adding to the quality of the cultural diversity in the video, there’s only one caucasian dancer, this gives the video multi-cultural feel. The video is accessable to people from different backgrounds.
This is the essence of what really inspired me, it caused me to think about the possibility of blending Afrobeats and House together in a music video. I aimed to re-create the same vibe, whilst putting my own twist on it. Although I would not have access to high end video equipment, I belived I could still produce something of quality to present for my FMP final outcome, perhaps, in the future I would be able to fund and expand the scale of this music video project.
The collaboration of Afrobeats and House music is something that hasn’t been exustively explored within the music industry, however, there have been some famous artists that have experimented by blending similar genres together, such as M.I.A. and Fuse ODG. Their work demonstrates that different genres can succcessfully work together and produce interesting results. I am intrigued by how certain genres work together better than others, and would like to explore this within the project.
M.I.A.’s Bad Girls has present multiple genres merged together, this creates a unique hip-hop track.
There is an Asian/Bollywood loop repeated throughout the track which has been cleverly implemented, and it’s quite catchy. I have found the track to be very addictive to listen to, it also sounds very atmospheric.
The music is a mix of political and fashionable influences. Although there has been criticism of the video that M.I.A. and Romain Gavras created, the video attempts to break down the barriers between the Middle East and the Western World. M.I.A. is influenced by female empowerment for example, she highlights the stereotypes around ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia.
Fuse ODG’s Dangerous Love has a very energetic vibe, mixing upbeat Calypso drums with Dancehall style beats. Fuse hoped to change the perceptions and stereotypes surrounding Africa. He wants to create a platform where he can showcase the style of his music to the UK and the rest of the world. Fuse went to Ghana to experience the authenticity and he also wanted to educate about the balance view of Africa showing the good and the bad side of the country.
I have found the track Dangerous Love to be very uplifting to listen to and it has a real party vibe to it. The track “Dangerous Love” has a lighter mood in comparision to M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls”. Fuse’s music is more about trying to bridge the gap between the stereotypes of “starving Africa” where as M.I.A. is concerned with female empowerment. They both have a message in their purpose which they want to share with the rest of the world to bring about change.
This is the transcript of a conversation I had with Marisse who is a dance tutor and works different groups of diverse backgrounds.
Johnny: What do you think about cultural diveristy in dance?
Marisse: I feel it has grown throughout the years, I started many years ago and back then it was a lot harder to break into the dance industry but whereas now it’s based on your talents rather than what you look like.
Being in the industry now, it has opened my eyes and given me a better understanding into the cultural diversity of different types of dance. Example of dance like street dance and commercial and tape, for example properly on Broadway, West End, places like this could be a lot more diverse but it has slowly and gradually getting there.
J: How do you feel about bring dancers together from different backgrounds and cultures?
M: I think this is a good idea not only for the dance routines but for the people who are in their local communities who are from different races, different backgrounds and different cultures things are still very stereotyped and in dance, you can create a dance movement without words to help people to accept the cultural diversity of what is currently going on.
J: Is this beneficial to the dance industry, if so how?
M: It is definitely as a dancer, you can never learn enough, you are always learning from different people you always growing in yourself, you are finding out new movement but not every dancer is a same. Especially if they are from different cultural background so I think it would be more beneficial if they fuse a piece together and create a new genre of dance even it would be amazing.
J: When was the first sance experience of dancing in a group of diverse people and how has it changed in the present day?
M: I first started performing when I was fourteen, I auditioned for a dance group and got in. There were a lot of difficulties in the beginning if you were different from them ie a different skin type or from a different background, you would not get a certain part. You would be tend to be more on the backline than the front line, it would be difficult for you to get a good part and for people to take you seriously. Even though in my team, I felt everybody appreciated each other but in the industry, everything was a bit complicated. Nowadays, things are different and if you have the right talent, then you would be chosen for the appropriated part rather than what you look like or where you come from.
J: Have you encountered any negativity from the public related to your ability to dance?
M: Yes definitely. It is something as a dancer that you will always come across people who are negative, you always go to an audition that you are not correct for, and you may not have the right look. It is something for dancer to go through, same as the music industry, but I believe the negativity makes you stronger, the more you can push yourself and the more it will make you go further. So this will make you stronger for any future auditions to be more successful.
J: How do you see yourself progressing in the dance industry? Is dance becoming more culturally diverse?
M: I see myself training more, taking different types of classes in different style that I’m not used to. That I would like to learn from others and different teaching styles to dance to something in a different language which you will have you feel as you would not understand the language. That is where I see myself in the near future making a different type of dance and I definitely l see the dance industry being more diverse and I see it rowing more and bringing more people. From all different countries and bringing Afrobeats and many different types of music which may have not been heard years ago and it’s making its way into the dance industry. It’s because we are accepting the skills of many different people where they come from and we are accepting this to learn and makes the industry more diverse.
J: I totally agree. I mean I was once there before, and look how I see the difference of people around me. For example, you may remember when was in your group, I was the only male dancer out of everyone who are all females at that time.
M: Yeah I remember that before.
J: So that I know I come across as a male but in the group of females as I stand out you know like –
M: Exactly. I mean, I remember you were dancing, and you were the only male there. However, they never made you feel uncomfortable when you were at the centre stage like a leader and as if they were dancing for you. Regardless of your age, your race, your faith and your gender, as long as you feel confident, you will always shine.
So to conclude the transcript, I thanked Marisse for taking part of my interview and we ended the conversation on a very good note.
Marisse was once there in the difficult time where not everywhere in the dance industry was very culturally diverse. Since time has changed where we accept people from their backgrounds and even acknowledging the understanding of who they are should stay there.
YouTube, A Visual Analysis of M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls”. Avaliable at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DstEUSXJvJM (Accessed on 22/06/217)
YouTube, Fuse ODG interview with Gavin Esler on BBC News at Five. Available at: https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwcPIPmZFiU