The sculptor and painter has been making music for decades, sending tapes to his friends, but only recently began releasing albums. "I'm not trying to copy nobody, not trying to outdo nobody with my music," he says.
The job of a musician is changing as quickly as the industry. We talk to people who make music for themselves, for a living and for every reason in between.
An American rock musician born in Freeport on Long Island, N.Y., Lou Reed epitomized New York City's artistic underbelly in the 1970s, with his songs about hookers and junkies. Reed was 71.
A frame-for-frame imitation of D'Angelo's 2000 clip by Panic! at the Disco's frontman cannily inserts race into a song about bisexuality.
In 1993 Onyx's raucous single became an unlikely hit on MTV and pop radio. The song was on the leading edge of a media change of heart.
The genre has some of the most creative, politically savvy, intelligent female personalities in the industry, made by artists as different as Chile's Ana Tijoux, who melts and reworks the Spanish language like a blacksmith, and Dominican-Spanish Arianna Puello, she of the machine gun delivery.
Producer Jake One guided the hydra song through many hands before it landed on Nothing Was the Same.
What keeps Drake at the forefront of the pack is his profound insistence on blues feeling — what most critics choose to minimize as his "sadness." Drake refuses to make happy records; instead he revels in a kind of unredeemable suffering and abject loneliness.
Two of this year's roster of grant winners are pianists who exemplify creative thinking and wide-ranging intellectual and artistic pursuits. And as it happens, NPR has a long history with each of them. See and hear excerpts of their distinctive work.
Steven Greenberg of the disco group Lipps, Inc. joins Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Loretta Lynn among artists currently trying to reclaim ownership of their work from labels, per a 1976 revision of copyright law. But the record industry is expected to put up a legal fight to retain the rights.
Outkast's Andre 3000 stars as the 1960s superstar in All Is By My Side, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival over the weekend.