Sparrow Hall is an immersive storyteller and experience designer. Author of Two Blue Wolves and Nightwork, Hall is known for creating unique narrative experiences through a hybrid of mediums – including literature, music, video, graphic design, handmade artifacts, and web-specific content. He has led branded content development for a variety of global brands, and has chaired thought leadership panels discussing the future of publishing and cross-platform entertainment. Read More >
I’m fascinated by this young artist out of New Zealand that goes by the name Lorde. Her sound is a blend of expository songwriting, stripped down hip hop beats and husky, honest-to-goodness soul. If the views on her YouTube videos have anything to say for it, this chick has amassed quite a following on just a handful of songs. You could chalk it up to the quality of the work, but for me it has to do with the message behind the music – something altogether different.
Lorde is one of a new generation of artists that have grown up in a modern day Great Depression. When riches are no longer relevant, when the old measurements have gone extinct, what will the kids dream about next?
A young generation that places less of a focus on material wealth makes the Kanye Wests of the world look like irrelevant dinosaurs.
I don’t know if it has to do with the alignment of the stars (literally – Saturn in Scorpio), meditating on the subtext of The Dark Knight Rises, or just spending too much time with The Law of One, but there’s something in Lordes’ music that makes me feel like I’m reading the tea leaves: A disinterest in celebrity, a disregard for wealth, and an unwillingness to play for the camera – even in her own music video (see “Tennis Court” below – brilliant). There’s a prophecy hidden somewhere in here. Something about this young woman’s presence is telling a larger story about her generation. One that is looking less and less like the images portrayed in the media, but rather far more secretive and compelling, as if the artist were holding a conversation in her head that we were not yet a party to.
Unlike the past, where young people were compelled to amass physical belongings to communicate their story (and simply to know themselves) – “these are the bands I like, this is my style, this is how I spend my money” – today, they craft their identities online. Who they are becomes a digital portrait that can be tweaked, updated, deleted, and exported in any way they see fit. And it’s free, which is a huge bonus seeing as how they’ve grown up in one of the most difficult economies we’ve seen in the past hundred years. If you don’t think these kids have lived through a Great Depression, maybe you should ask them. These young voices remind us that change isn’t on its way, but rather it’s already here. Maybe it hasn’t taken hold on a mass scale yet, but it has taken root, and it’ll be fascinating to see how we transform because of it.