Fatima is a junior at William Paterson University, majoring in Popular Music with a minor in Music Management. She attended Union Catholic Regional High School, where she developed a love and skill for songwriting. She attended William Paterson University to learn more about the music industry, as well as develop her craft. She hopes to graduate,become a full-time songwriter/producer, and hopefully change the world with music.
The Power of Live R&B
I am absolutely obsessed with R&B music. It’s one of the most passionate and relatable genre’s in the word. Even if you look at the name behind the acronym, Rhythm & Blues, it comes from a place of melancholic and joyful ideas of love all with steady rhythms you can bob your head to.
Unfortunately, I feel as though at the turn of the 21st century R&B/Soul no longer has the same power that it used to. It has become less about the stories and passion and more about selling a lifestyle. We have even gone as far as taking out the heart of Soul music, the powerhouse vocals and strong instrumentation. Today’s commercial R&B has turned into a 2 note melody over a beat with little dynamic. So in a time where commercial R&B isn’t as dynamic as I want it to be, I find musical power through a small group of artists who embrace imagination in their live performances.
The first video that came to mind when I was making my playlist was Beyoncé’s live performance of “Deja Vu“, The original recorded version of the song (in my opinion) is a funky fun track that could be performed live with a strong R&B energy. What I deeply admired about this performance was the cool rearrangement of the song. She found a way to combine the sounds of classic jazz and her signature commercial sound. I feel as though this performance shows the true power of live music, this element of combining the new with the old, uses its power to unite different audiences.
Another performance on my playlist is from alternative R&B Band, The Internet. The reason put them on the list is because they are one the few current R&B acts that brings back soul and dynamic. They don’t necessarily have powerhouse vocals like Whitney Houston,but they have an experimental fusion sound that inspires me to think outside the box.
I’ve also added them because they show the power that music has to give a voice to the voiceless. Their lead singer Syd tha Kid is an openly gay singer that isn’t afraid to sing about her love interests in music. It’s beautiful watching her barefoot on stage singing about an old girlfriend and making it normal.That kind of casual visibility helps the LGBT community in their quest for equality.
Every performance on this list shows the power of dynamic performances and how it is vital to the survival of R&B. These artists stay true to the sincere meaning R&B, and it is through them that it maintains its power.