There is no subject more titillating or more rich in story fodder than the music industry. No matter the genre of music, there is the artistic side of music that inspires and uplifts, then there’s the seamy side of the industry that involves every deadly sin known to man.
Yet, those of us who love music, including its creators and consumers, wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. In fact, my earliest memories as a child involved hearing music played (and sung) around our home. Coming from a large family, we didn’t own much in the way of material things, but we had a radio (the B&W television would come later), and it stayed tuned to the local Jazz or Rhythm & Blues radio stations, where we heard the likes of Billie Holiday, Martha and The Vandellas, Miles Davis, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Etta James, Nina Simone, Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Smokie Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and I could go on and on. These are just a few of the wonderful musicians my parents introduced me to, and besides the gospel music we sang in church, these artists’ songs were what we cut our teeth on.
As I grew older, I stretched my love for music to include other genres that my parents didn’t expose me to–classical, country, folk, latin american and most notably rock and roll. The lists of artists I love expanded to include Mozart, Beethoven, Johnny Cash, Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Avett Brothers, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Lynrd Skynrd, The Allman Brothers, The Doors, Peter Frampton, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Jeff Buckley, Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, Creed, Nickelback, Nirvana, The Foo Fighters, Adele, Corinne Bailey Rae, Alabama Shakes, and many more. My love for these genres of music came from watching variety shows on television, and being exposed to other ethnicities and the genres of music they liked, in addition to going off to college where music appreciation was a prerequisite for every college student seeking a good liberal arts education.
Music has seen me through every significant rite of passage in my life, including puberty, my first love, a broken heart, difficult times in relationships, high school, college, the deaths of loved ones, writing and the list continues to this day. That is why when we lose icons in the music industry, we mourn as if they are our own, because we recognize that the gift they have given us transcends blood relations. Their artistry knits us together in ways we can’t deny nor comprehend.
When I decided to begin another series of multicultural characters in my newest book, European Tour, I decided that it would be a story set in the world of music. It was one of the ways I could pay homage to an art form that has given me so much–an opportunity to give back to it the same way it has poured richness and beauty into my life.
In the same way that music expresses many feelings and evokes so much emotion in us, this story I have written is rife with conflict, and the uncomfortable stuff of life, which is the essential constituent of every good story.
European Tour releases on May 17, 2016
It is on pre-order for $0.99 for a Limited Time