When we think of artists we usually see people are bigger than life; something that we can conceive but will never truly know. They’re viewed from a standpoint that is much different than the average person, usually in a way where we hold them to a higher standard. So my main question with this article is whether artists should feel obligated to use their platform to increase awareness around issues they hold close to them.
From my perspective, many mainstream artists focus most of their attention on how they can make themselves or their brand more successful. Not much time is focused on creating change in the world, whether that’s through the music itself or through starting up charities for causes they deem important. Artists like Kendrick Lamar are known for their charitable contributions, with him it was specifically to the sports, after school, and music programs in his hometown of Compton, CA. One mentioned in the interview was Incubus’ charity called “The Make Yourself Foundation”, which has raised over 2 million dollars since its inception in 2003.
Other artists choose to use their music to give light to situations they think should be discussed. Some of the more notable ones within our own scene are bands like Silent Planet who are strong advocates of suicide prevention. Their music video for “Understanding Love As Loss” is both poetic in its musicianship, and reveals a big message of how rampant suicide has become within our society. Whether it’s through actively promoting causes, or creating music that does so, one thing is clear to myself and many others: music has the power to create change. The only real question is are we going to let it, or just focus on record sales?
John Safari/OCML Interview
In August of 2017, I had the privilege of talking to a man that goes by the name John Safari. Several years ago he started what is now known as Orange County Music League, OCML for short. Since then, they’ve not only combatted against pay-to-play, which is very prevalent in the Southern California scene, but also against the issue of homelessness. Whether it’s helping out with food, getting them restrooms, or making them feel like actual people, OCML is a prime example of an organization coming together to do something bigger than just put on great shows.
Listen down below to see what they’re up to and our riveting discussion on how music plays an important role in the world.