by Tarik Moody
There’s been a lot of talk lately about Beyonce’s VMA performance and it’s been interesting seeing our collective unconscious surface due to this expression of the Jungian animus / anima archetype. But as profound as the performance of our modern day booty shaking goddesses was, I’m tempted here to go on a screed about how nobody paid attention when Daft Punk finally broke down the human/robot barrier during their famous 2007 Alive concert encore when they performed “Together” in front of the words ‘HUMAN TOGETHER’ in big letters!
Seriously though, all the talk and all glitz and all the big letters aside, it still boils to the music. The goal is great music. I say let the artists make the music that makes them happy, and then let the music speak for itself. That’s all.
To wit, I took the time a couple weeks ago to check out the local artist Esh perform at the Newaukee Koss Lunar Series. She is another of those tireless artists giving voice to great music that touches us so deeply. Here’s what she has to say about her music:
Q: How’d you learn to play? Did you study music formally?
No, not formally. I was introduced to music in church. My grandmother was a local gospel singer and she was a huge part of why I started singing.
Q: What inspires you to make music? Does the inspiration spring more from within yourself or from without?
For me, music comes from within. The lyrics, music and feelings definitely came from within. Whatever I'm feeling at that moment gets documented. Disappointment inspired my most recent CD. It is about a fucked up long term relationship, my pain, and my family not knowing or supporting me at all.
Q: What are the things that you absolutely must have in order to be creative? Is it a frosty brew? If so, our readers want to know: PBR or Highlife?
There isn't one particular thing that awakes my creative spirit. I'm inspired by tons of things. The more I travel and experience life, the more I write. Creativity is unlimited space & time in my eyes.
I'm not a beer person, but down to drink both to prove my love of this city. I tend to keep it simple with bottled water, lemon slices and warm tea.
Q: You seemed very comfortable during your performance the other night. Can you speak a bit about how the crowd can affect your performance, or is the crowd a non-factor?
Over the years I've learned to do what I do best and have fun because at the end of the day I know I'm an entertainer.
Q: What do you consider to be an exceptional performance?
I would consider a exceptional performance when a artist walks off the stage after a show, only to be called back by the audience chanting their name for an encore. A performance that's memorable and timeless, whenever it's heard, it still evokes the same emotions. For example, Whitney Houston singing the National Anthem.
Q: Is there a particular artist right now that you’re following and learning from?
Not really. When I'm in record mode I really stay away from studying or listening to any other kinds of music because I want to make sure my music sounds authentic.
Q: What's the most interesting musical collaborations you’ve been a part of over the years?
I was the lead singer of a 9 piece afrobeat band called Tristan Royalty Squad from Milwaukee. The band was filled with a lot of well respected heavy hitters in the Midwest music scene. The band was a pretty big deal and my introduction to the Milwaukee music scene.
Q: Can you speak a bit about the challenges and rewards you’ve experience from working in the music industry today?
I'm an indie artist, without label support, and that's a challenge in itself because the business aspect is on me. The music industry isn’t what it used to be. And as an indie artist I have to work twice as hard to be seen, heard and paid. Finding a balance between working a 9-5 and still being able to create good music is a challenge too.
Of course these things make me a more well rounded artist for sure.
Q: And finally, what can you tell me about any upcoming projects you’re working on right now?
I'm super stoked to release my first music video, and I have a 12 track cd coming out this fall. My team is setting up a five city mini tour to get my feet wet on the road. Once the new music is released, I don't plan on slowing down anytime soon. If I'm not creating music, I'm just not fucking happy!!!