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Guest Post: Sofia Quintero!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

If you’re a fan of Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, or Usher, nine will get you ten that you also love Michael Jackson, whether you’re fifteen or fifty. Even though all these artists have their own sound and style, MJ’s influence on them is undeniable. That’s what a great artist does—creates work that reaches across generations.

That doesn’t mean, however, that younger audiences are familiar with the artists who have inspired their current faves. We older heads tend to get angry at them for not knowing when it’s our fault for not teaching them. In writing my young adult novel SHOW AND PROVE, which is set in New York City during the summer of 1983, I hope that readers will research the influential artists I mention throughout the story because I suspect they’ll easily draw connections with current stars like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Bruno Mars. Here are just three examples from the novel.

Fans of Vin Diesel should check out the earlier movies of Sylvester “Sly” Stallone.

These two actors have something more in common than distinct voices, muscular frames, and action franchises. Both Diesel and Stallone made their own break by writing the films that launched their careers. While a struggling actor, Stallone wrote the screenplay for Rocky and refused to sell it unless he was cast in the lead. The movie went on to become a hit that and garnered several Academy Awards. Inspired by the book Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices, Diesel wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the independent movie Strays. When Steven Spielberg saw the film, he cast Diesel in Saving Private Ryan in a role Spielberg had written just for him.


If you love Beyoncé, learn more about Diana Ross.

Just like Beyoncé, Diana Ross started her career as the lead singer of a hit-making trio called The Supremes and then went on to be a successful solo artist. Diana also branched out into film roles and fashion design. She herself was influenced by Billie Holiday and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for portraying the jazz legend in the biopic Lady Sings the Blues. She is the mother of actors Tracee Ellis Ross (Girlfriends and Black-ish) and Evan Ross (The Hunger Games) and, at the age of 71, still tours. Beyoncé herself has said, “Diana Ross is a big inspiration to all of us. We all grew up watching everything about her—her mike placement, her grace, her style, and her class.”

Almost every hip-hop artist claims Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five as an inspiration.


You really can’t boast that you know and love hip-hop if you’re not familiar with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Their biggest hit, “The Message,” is a hip-hop classic that continues to inspire contemporary artists, both artistically and politically. This group is an enduring reminder that the best rap music can make you dance, feel, and think.

Grandmaster Flash - The Message by hushhush112

For more, listen to the Show and Prove playlist on YouTube and when you find a recording artist you like, put their name into Music Bloodline to discover who influenced them and who is following in their artistic footsteps. And if an old song sounds familiar, run the title through the and find out which artists have used elements of that song in their current music. You’d be surprised how many of today’s most popular songs rework old hits.  
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