#16 Legacy and Legends

Image of David Bowie mural

This Blog shifts into the creative space along with the melodic sounds of the arts. I can’t say I am musical but it does pick up the recent debate in popular music culture and the discussion of Lady Gaga vs Lorde.

Most recently both artists performed at different times with the two events being in separate locations and countries. The one thing that both artists had in common was how they were nominated to perform the tributes in honour of David Bowie.

Lorde provided a tribute at the BRIT awards (UK). https://youtu.be/C7l3y7LOzLc

Lady Gaga provided a tribute at the Grammy Awards (USA). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aw_sZvauCw

My interest is not so much in critiquing their performances (after all I am definitely not a contender for X Factor) but more of the exploration of two polarised ends of the performance spectrum – one with more “structure” (Lorde) and the other with “spontaneity” (Lady Gaga).

This polarising experience that I refer to as STRADDLE™ (Consequences Blog #13) represents an interesting real world example of the tensions between structure and spontaneity.

Lorde’s performance as detailed was streamlined and “devoid of stage props and Bowie-esque makeup”. Many of the music critics deemed this performance as being more fitting and more of an appropriate tribute.

In considering STRADDLE™ this can be likened to the “structure” end of the STRADDLE™ continuum where safety is found in “known certainties” and playing it safe can feel most comfortable.

At the other end of the music spectrum or STRADDLE™ continuum…

Lady Gaga’s performance was described as intense “over the top ” (not unusual for her!) extremely theatrical and superficial. The music critics were quite tough on Lady Gaga suggesting that her performance as a tribute was “too strenuously pop”.

In considering STRADDLE™ this can be likened to the “spontaneity” end of the STRADDLE™ continuum where the scenarios of “unknown possibilities’” provide opportunities for innovation.

The Lady Gaga vs Lorde discussion delves into the deeply rooted rock- music discourse debating who is deemed worthy of paying tributes to artists of greatest notoriety such as Bowie. I shall definitely leave that debate where it is best kept – which is not my expertise!

What I do find of interest is the tension between known certainties (structure – Lorde type) and unknown possibilities (spontaneity – Lady Gaga type) and the need to find a balance between the two.

Bowie is a perfect example of how these two tensions can be balanced choosing when to have structure and when to embrace spontaneity. During his career which spanned well over a lifetime he not only left a legacy of music genres but he demonstrated what happens if you can find that balance. He was rightfully classed as an iconic music legend that through many decades not only coped with the changes in trends, instead, played a key role in leading the trends – even when what he was doing or wearing didn’t fit any scene!

Translating this balance, using the words of STRADDLE™, moving along the continuum between structure and spontaneity, Bowie led the way and found the “sweet spot”. Bowie in being both artificial and real or theatrical whilst being honest demonstrated how the two tensions can and do co-habit.

The lessons I draw from this music debate is its representation of all walks of life and I use STRADDLE™ to describe the need for such conscious attention.
The decision to apply more structure may be needed but not at the expense of spontaneity, stifling the creativity that is so needed for innovation.
The other side of this experience is that structure is often required to ensure longevity so that systemic change can become a reality.

I leave you with a reminder of the legend of Bowie and how he was honoured by two very different current day artists. Likewise I encourage us all to consider the STRADDLE™ momentum in all tasks we undertake – and not only be legends (like Bowie) but leave legacies that make this world a better place!

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