Photo by @AZ.BLT via Twenty20
Innovate: Genre-Blending Creates New Sounds
Let’s talk about why genre-blending is here to stay in the music industry…
Since anyone can remember, music has been an ever-evolving aspect of cultures across the world. From Indie Rock to Pop to EDM and Hip-Hop, we’ve seen artists warp and blend together genres to create some of the best (and worst) music that can inspire a crowd or can kill any vibe alive in an audience.
But regardless, we find ourselves at the cusp of something amazing in the music industry that hasn’t happened before because of all this genre-blending. It’s finally possible to listen and create a track that can move across the genre lines and become something uniquely enjoyable and flavorful to a wide range of listeners.
"But the idea of taking things and mixing them together is what I do in my music. I take hip-hop, R&B, pop, dance, funk and soul and mix it all together to get my own sound."
~ Jennifer Lopez, Singer, songwriter, and actress
Now, DJs and producers have been crossing these lines for decades within the smaller subgenres of EDM, but more recently, we’ve seen the rise of artists like Lil Nas X who took the mainstream appeal Hip-Hop and mixed it with Country in his track ‘Old Town Road’ that historically held the #1 spot on Billboard’s charts for 19 weeks. Which prior to this was a dynamic that many of us had not seen before in the industry at that level.
Now, this genre-blended style is something that legendary rapper Nelly is also tackling in 2021 with his new “Country-infused” EP ‘Heartland’, that is set to release later this year. Nelly even teased the EP by dropping a single off of it entitled “Lil Bit’ featuring Country superstars, Georgia Florida Line. Showing that genre-blending isn’t just a one-hit wonder or fad situation, but is actually becoming more and more widely acceptable to incorporate into modern/contemporary music.
Aside from the rise of blending Hip-Hop and Country, we’ve seen EDM incorporate these same ideas for a long time now and, with the genre being on a significant rise since the early 2010s, it’s almost a necessity to have some of this diversity on your musical resume. Producers like Marshmello, the late Avicii (RIP), and even Skrillex have all delved into these concepts to help bring their music to new audiences and have thrived to acquire new long-term fans that may have never given them the chance initially.
Not only does it provide a fresh perspective on the EDM genre, but it also helps artists continue to push the boundaries on what is possible in their work and give their listeners something different to explore while supporting the growth of the industry as a whole. For the first time in history, you can jump from genre to genre and still be a powerhouse rather than an artist that steps “outside of their realm.”
"Music is not math. It's science. You keep mixing the stuff up until it blows up on you, or it becomes this incredible potion."
~ Bruno Mars, Singer, songwriter and record producer
So, if you’re an artist looking for their break or even if you’re interested in taking your music in a whole new direction, stepping away from the conventional styles of your genre may be a good place to start. Luckily, with Zoom and similar services allowing us to work with people all over the world, a strong collaboration could be just around the corner.
Whether you’re in Jacksonville, Florida or across the pond in Europe, your next genre-blending track is just a DM and a little bit of hard work away from breaking the internet and we are all excited to hear it!