It’s been quite a while since I have posted, and its been quite a year so far. Do you remember my very first article? It was called “Excuses, Excuses” and can be found here: http://www.linescratchers.com/?p=1113 Well, I stopped making excuses and I’ve jumped into this crazy business full time.
It’s been an interesting year as I’ve started my business (2 businesses actually) and have worked with a number of artists and projects, both in and out of the LDS world. This year, my “flagship” project was (for the first time) something that was not just influenced by my beliefs and values, but that was openly promoting a religiously themed message. Working on it has been enlightening and educational as I have begun to better understand the “typical” LDS Market for music. This project was one that was close to my heart, as it was a personal project done with my teenage daughters. Together, we wrote and produced an album of fun, energetic, and uplifting music geared for young adults and teens, and based it on the values and principles promoted by the Young Women’s theme. This was their first serious project. The music has a great spirit about it, and a positive message. It’s well done, and we’ve received fantastic feedback overall on it. I am not shy about putting in a plug – you can check it out at www.ofpreciousvalue.com – but my point in this article is not just to promote this, I am trying to make a point, and looking for some feedback.
My point – we don’t fit in “the box”. Most of us on this website don’t quite fit in “the” box, and that’s why we are here. We don’t quite fit the stereotype of an “LDS Musician” and yet there are many in the world who are slow to accept us if they are aware we are LDS. Hence, the “linescratchers box”. Well, I’m not even sure my most recent LDS project (Of Precious Value) fits in the Linescratchers box…. it’s sort of in no mans land. With a blatent religious message and obvious religious target market, its on the fringe at best of what would fall under the classic definition of a Linescratchers musician. And, with music that is much more a blend of modern pop and guitar driven rock, delivered in a fresh and energetic way, it struggles to fit into the “traditional” LDS music box in spite of having a direct and blatent LDS message.
The music I’ve made may never make it into a “Sabbath Sounds” type of broadcast, and at the same time it’s probably not the right choice of albums to review and feature on Linescratchers. And you know what? I’m fine with that! I’m not here to try to fit into a pre-defined box, I’m here to help make a BIGGER BOX! I hope all of us share that same artistic drive and passion. The LDS market is a tough one to crack. If you don’t fit in or have the right connections, its even tougher. But we need to work together to make a bigger box. We need to support each other and work together to expand the box to include great music that is being overlooked. With going back into music full time, I am reminded how many AMAZING musicians there are who will really never be heard outside of their circle of friends and family.
How do we make more room for them? How do we make a bigger box? Shouldn’t the “LDS Music Box” include not only traditional and contemporary musicians but also include a lot of secular music that is just…well….Good? Free of profanity and questionable subject matter, music that simply celebrates and speaks of the ups and downs and experiences of life? Shouldn’t the “Linescratchers Box” include not only those who are LDS and make secular music, but also include those who are bold in challenging the status quo for LDS spiritual music ? (while staying appropriate of course!)
I am asking for your help making a bigger box. I have a lot of ideas running through my head. I know a lot of LDS youth and young adults and very few of them are listening to LDS music or LDS artists. Some LDS bands and artists are popping up thank goodness, but they are a drop in the bucket on the ipod playlists of our youth. Really?? Do we not have amazing talent among us, both for religious and secular music? How do we reach these people who are ripe to accept us if we can connect with them? One thing I’ve noticed is that the overwhelming majority of broadcasts of LDS music (real or online) are more “Sabbath Sounds” oriented. There are some that are broadcasting, podcasting, or streaming more contemporary music and even secular music, but I haven’t found many. Kudos to Steve Larson at LDS Music Today who has included a very diverse range of music in his regular podcasts. We need more of that.
With all this in mind – I’m asking for your input. What can we do? I’m considering a lot of things. One is I’m thinking of starting a 24/7 online radio station that will play a wide range of good music – LDS Music, Secular music, New Artists, Contemporary Christian Music, etc – with a focus on lesser known artists, interviews, themed shows (ideas: Best New Artists Hour, Linescratchers Royalty Hour, Genre specific shows, and more). I’d initially probably start with 1-2 daily shows and some rebroadcasts of those shows and then work up to having a full 24/7 schedule of good content. I’ve also considered doing an annual compilation CD of LDS artists that don’t fit inside the box (for example, did you know that there are some really amazing LDS artists doing country music? Whether you like the style or not – we need to hear more of this diversity within the LDS market!. There are many ideas I’m thinking of as I try to figure out how to help good musicians – LDS Spiritual, LDS Secular, and other just plain good artists – find a voice, and an audience.
Help me make a bigger box. We get a lot more done when we work together. i encourage you to leave your suggestions and feedback.