2/1/2012 5:59 PM
Thinking about The Grammys, Art and Influence
When this year's Grammy nominations were announced in January, the media were scratching their heads over some "unknown" 23-year-old dance producer/DJ named Skrillex earning five nominations, including one for Best New Artist. They wondered aloud: Are DJs musicians?
This is not a new argument. Look at the criticism that rap and hip-hop faced when they grew beyond the underground into the mainstream. Now they’re the most dominant voices in popular music. Rejection of new musical ideas goes back through the eras: Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring caused riots in the aisles at its premiere.
These days, people tend to equate musical "success" with record sales. DJs create an experience, an event; although Skrillex, Tiësto, and deadmau5 draw hundreds of thousands of fans to their live performances, they'll never compete with Taylor Swift on the charts. But they are influential, and music is an evolving art form. It’s inspiring to witness artists at the forefront of electronic music finally getting the recognition that they deserve. "The coolest part about the Grammy nominations is that it proves something real is happening culturally," Skrillex says in our March cover interview (hitting the streets this week.) "And even though the mainstream is trying to latch onto it, they don't even know what to really latch onto yet."
We'll be heading to L.A. for Grammy Week, to bring you behind-the scenes dispatches and perspectives from the creative and technical forces behind the awards, and the biggest hits in music. Stay tuned! —Sarah Jones