On the 11th of January we lost one of music’s great pioneers David Bowie. He was the original versatile artist who was always changing his style.
David Bowie couldn’t be pinned to down to any one style of music as he did everything from rock to blues, to folk, to soul, to jungle to psychedelic folk, to vaudeville and beyond. He always kept his eye on what was current an, he cited Kendrick Lamar as an inspiration for his most recent album. Furthermore, David Bowie always was what was current, his 2013 album the next day went to number 1 in the UK, number 2 in the US, won him a brit award for best male and achieved widespread critical acclaim. David Bowie showed us a side to music performance we could have never envisaged. He was dressed in make up, what was deemed to be women’s clothing, knelling in front of his male guitarist’s crotch while performing the some of the best earth shattering rock songs of all time to arenas and stadiums of people.
David Bowie didn’t just make it ok to be different, he made it cool to be different. He was one of the people who shaped what music performances are today, including the incorporation of costume changes for different songs, different mimes and gestures for different songs, elaborate set designs and using technology such as cherry picker.
You could say if there was no Bowie, artists like Rhianna and Lady Gaga’s stage shows wouldn’t be what they are today. In his words he didn’t sing songs he portrayed them. He was ever evolving from character to character from genre to genre, some of his songs would be inspired by philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and sometimes he’d cut random words up and stick them together to make his lyrics. He inspired generations of artists from Joy Division to Madonna to Kanye West. He didn’t only inspire musicians he liberated them to be what they wanted to be.
Always prolific sometimes releasing two albums a year while touring. He was multi instrumentalist who as good of a musician as he was a song writing and producer. As well as writing and producing a bulk of his own work, he also wrote hits for other artists such as Mott the Hopple’s all the young dudes and produced work for other artists too such Lou Reed’s masterpiece transformer album. He managed to bring the avent garde to masses in a way that perhaps no other artists has, he was both a cult figure a pop icon at the same time. He didn’t play to no one’s rules he bended them to the point of submission. Before even Michael Jackson or Queen, David Bowie innovated what would become the music video, which proved to be a massive source of content for birth of music channels such as MTV.
He was also a successful star of the screen and stage staring in films such as Labyrinth and stage shows such as The Elephant Man. As he grew reclusive for health reasons in his final years he managed to retain his mystery and dictate his portrayal as if he were writing a script. As the life and career of the iconic figure and man they call David Bowie’s sadly reaches the final act, comes a new appreciation and celebration of his genius. Perhaps more than any other musician he deserves of the title artis
He was more than a musician he was a phenomenon; you could say it was David Bowie’s universe, we just live in it.