The Genre Question

by Savannah Norman

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Music is powerful. It connects people, it mends broken hearts, it flourishes relationships, and it sets the mood for just about any occasion. What makes music beautiful is its ability to be flexible and adapt. Music can be anything it so desires. People tend to group music into categories and define it as different things. The word for this is Genre. Genres have always been intriguing to me in that I can never decide which genre of music to which I am more drawn.

One of the questions you ask someone when you first meet them is, “What genre of music do you like”. People tend to answer with rock, indie, country-the list is endless. When I am asked this question, I am at a loss. You’re probably thinking that I must be a special kind of crazy not to be able to identify what genre I prefer, but a topic such as this is much more complex than your average “get to know you” questions.

Music has a special place in my heart and breaking it apart and defining it by category does not seem to do it justice. I like to think of music in a way that describes how I feel. Different songs and artists creep into my playlists whenever certain emotions come out. The great artists allow their musical inspirations to abound without putting themselves under one specific genre. My favorite artists tend to have a wide variety of sounds and do not stick to one style or one feeling.

Today, the idea of genre is disappearing. When I communicate with smaller, local artists, I never think to ask them what genre they are because it is not a question I consider and oftentimes they do not consider it either. Genre is too restrictive and does not allow for creative freedom in writing and producing music. An artist should be able to produce techno, sad acoustic, or rock sounding vibes and still be successful in the industry. I love seeing artists that embrace their unique sound and do not simply settle for fitting all of their art into one genre. Music is strong enough to be whatever it wants, and artists should embrace that and run with whatever is inspiring to them.

The music industry’s future is bright and has the capability to be whatever it wants to be. Genre is not something I foresee being a limit on what artists and producers can do. The possibilities for music are endless went it is free of the Genre label. Next time someone asks you, “what genre do you prefer”, truly think about what your answer is or maybe even allow yourself to think beyond this 5-word question and contemplate what music means to you. Should you restrict yourself to one category or one type of feeling? Go beyond yourself and let music take you where you need to go.