Have you heard a song unlike anything you’ve ever heard before? There’s a name for that: genre bending, or a cross-genre.
Genre bending happens in movies, tv shows, books and music.
It is the mixing of two or more different genres – the piece of work cannot be categorized into just one genre.
This is the kind of music that we’ve heard and been blown away by because we’ve never heard anything like it.
Artists are combining the best of two or more of their favorite genres and creating hit songs.
When I’ve found a song like this, I often plug it into Pandora to try to find more like it, but they don’t exist.
This is amazing feat as an artist; to invent something that no one has done before.
Thomas Jack created the Tropical House genre. Before this, there was little to no house music with the relaxing, uplifting stylings of this new genre.
This particular genre has bouncy, Balearic influences as well as dancehall sounds.
The thing about genre bending is that it lets artists have so much more creative freedom. They no longer have to stick to just one genre or one style of music.
Musical Genre Bending Course – University of Southern California (USC)
Genre bending has become so prevalent that there’s even a class at USC revolved around it. According to the class’ syllabus, it inspects genres such as progressive rock, indie classical, and more.
The class analyzes cross-genre music from the 20th and 21st centuries, and examines how labels affect our listening experience.
It questions if we listen to music differently if there’s no familiar genre associated. I, personally, would love to take this class. Sign me up!
Experimenting with Bending Genres
Electronic music has been one of the most experimental genres of music, with new types of electronic music being created every year.
An example would be deep house; this type of music has influences of jazz and soul vocals and slows down the typical house music BPM.
In fact, most electronic artists don’t have to identify with one genre. They often will play around on each of their songs to experiment with different music influences.
Spotify has curated playlists for this specific trend. Playlists like:
- Channel X (Fuses pop with RnB and Hip Hop)
- Classical X
- Genre Bender
- Indie Electronic
A few artists, in particular, are known for their genre-bending music.
Artists like: Griz, Odesza and Zhu have been known for their completely unique style of music.
Even Taylor Swift has fused pop with country, along with other country artists (love my girl Taylor).
Genre Bender: Griz
Griz is known for his saxophone sound, funky vibes, and electro-soul genre. His proclaims his sound to be future-funk.
He created the All Good Records label, to represent motown soul, disco, electronic, and new sound artists. He reps artists who are on the cutting edge of sound.
This video below encompasses all that Griz is; a fun time, a great performer, and a genre bender.
A link to his show calendar is here.
Genre Bender: ODESZA
Okay. For those that are new to my blog, you probably don’t know how much I love ODESZA. But people who know me in real life know how obsessed I am with them.
I’ve seen them live about 4 times now, and I’m not kidding when I say that each time gets better. The first time had the USC marching band open up ODESZA’s first track – I mean, c’mon on.
If you’ve never heard their sound, it’s truly one of a kind. It’s this ethereal, happy, perfect sound that’s easy to spot once you’re familiar with them. And they add in just enough bass to make the songs have an edge.
Their live performances are quite something. They both manage to play the drums and DJ perfectly at the same time. I love the live drums more than anything.
Their most well-known songs are “Sun Models” or “Say My Name.” These songs are the epitome of their unique sound.
My personal favorite (at the moment, it literally changes all of the time) is “White Lies.”
See how this song has this ethereal, joyous sound? Doesn’t it make you want to dance around in some fields full of flowers? No? Just me? Okay.
I’ve been waiting for them to come out with new music for what feels like forever. I feel like it might happen this summer, because they will be done with their tour.
See where they’re touring here.
Genre Bender: ZHU
You know the ZHU sound – it’s the sound of that high voice, creepy melodies, and a great beat.
I first discovered ZHU through “Faded,” like most did. Okay, it was the ODESZA remix, but still. The original is just as amazing (can’t say that for other songs).
After listening to his whole “THE NIGHTDAY” EP, I was hooked.
I had never heard a sound anything like this; a sound that’s just creepy enough for a dark club scene, but that you also want to blast in your car on your commute home.
And that voice. It just all fits perfectly together.
ZHU wanted to keep his identity hidden for a long time, because he wanted it to be just about the music. Therefore, he wears a bandana over his face during live shows.
I’ve seen him three times, and seriously, it is one of my top 5 live performances to see. He’s SO GOOD.
Link to show calendar here.
Genre Bender: Gryffin
Gryffin is another one of those artists that has made such a unique sound. I just saw Gryffin live at Coachella, and I can honestly say it was magical.
His use of hopeful, happy sounds made the set unlike anyone’s. If you’re familiar with his style, you know this is common.
Known first for his remixes of popular songs, his style became increasingly easier to point out.
His dreamy songs sound like a mix between progressive and tropical house. With lots of rad guitar, played by Gryffin himself.
He genre bends to bring his crowds the happiest vibes.
See where Gryffin’s playing next here.
Genres don’t matter…music is music. More and more often we see artists creating their own genres; they are pioneers in their own right.
Who’s your favorite genre bending artist? Comment down below.