Let's pick up where we left off last week with the term "Scenius" by Brian Eno.
If you missed last week's newsletter, you can read it here.
Every artist wants to be an individual but they also want to be part of something - a scene or community. As people and as artists, we want to be accepted in a movement and be recognised by fans and peers as individuals.
For the next few weeks/months, I am going to investigate the term "scenius" more and look back at the great artists and scenes of the last decades with the intention of answering two questions that have been on my mind the last week:
1. How do you become a part of a scenius?
2. How can it benefit your career once you are a part of one?
Let's start by pinpointing some of the most famous scenes in the world. New York in the '70s was an era-defining time in the world of music. It happened because of the collective genius of many things coming together at the same time.
Everybody knows about East Coast vs West Coast. The collective genius of both Tupac and Biggie saw their scenes collide in a way we have never seen before in any genre of music. Their worlds collided as the internet era began. Biggie and Tupac were connected as part of a "scenius" that also included Mary J Blige, Nas, P Diddy, Jay Z, Dr Dre, Snoop and Faith Evans. We all know how that ended.
Madonna, David Bowie, Prince, Elton John and Kylie Minogue all become icons within their own "scenius" over different decades. In the U.K., Oasis, Blur and The Nerve was all part of their own scenius alongside The Chemical Brothers, Underworld and The Prodigy.
As people, we gravitate towards certain places and sounds at different times in our lives. We have the desire to be a part of something too. Radio stations, magazines, fashion brands and clubs/festivals all react to the collective genius of what is happening around them. When this happens - magic happens. Great work inspires great work.
All of the examples I have mentioned above happened before social media.
Social media has given us access to scenes all over the world with the click of a button. We can discover scenes as they happen through algorithms and discover another one 10 minutes later.
In the era of social media, it is hard to recognise genius as everything feels the same. The great eras of the 70s, 80s, and 90s have created nostalgia but that doesn't mean the scenes that we are now a part of are not great. We just haven't got to a point in time where the last 10 years can be appreciated like these past eras.
The key to creating a "scenius" is longevity.
The scene you want to be a part of is happening around you right now.
The question remains - how do you become a part of it?