International musicians grab a new generation of American listeners

by Arielle Zuaro
A wave of international music artists, including Adele, Mumford and Sons, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Wanted and Gotye, have taken America by storm. The Brits rounded up a total of 16 Grammy awards in 2009 and just this past year Adele won six Grammys in one night. Americans have fallen in love with the big-hearted voice of the 21 artist, as they have swooned for the beats of Drake, and the fresh sounds of Ellie Goulding. These artists put their own unique spin on contemporary music.
“Lily Allen is my favorite British artist because she’s like the British version of Lady Gaga in the sense that she’s not afraid to be herself, unique and an individual,” said sophomore Mary Brumfield.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, American rock and roll spread to the United Kingdom.  As British artists re-vamped the genre, Americans were hit with the British Invasion and Beatle-mania.
“I like a lot of British bands like U2, The Beatles, Radiohead…[but] my favorite band is probably Pink Floyd,” said freshman Eric Calvo.  Now, artists such as Ellie Goulding and Tinie Tempah offer something similarly new to American ears.
Independent artists are on the rise in cities such as Reykjavik, Iceland, home to the band Of Monsters and Men.  Artists Drake and Carly Rae Jepsen, who brought the iconic cry of YOLO and a number-five single across the border, hail from Canada.
As the world becomes smaller through technology, people are able to access new music faster, making artists famous seemingly overnight.
“[Music] is extremely accessible because of the Internet, so you can hear about it from overseas just as soon as people living in the native country,” said Brumfield.
Artists from countries where English is not the official language have found a way to translate their ideas to create sounds and lyrics that resonate with Americans in a new way.
“There wasn’t even a French music scene, it was just American standards and Motown and they would just translate the lyrics. We are doing the exact opposite. We’re singing in English, but singing about stuff that probably makes very little sense to Americans because it’s thought in French,” said frontman Thomas Mars of the French band Phoenix, in an interview with Vulture Blog. “We love that it’s weird and there is something very French about it.”
Many up-and-coming artists are  trying to make it in the music industry independently and look to the Internet and social networking to get scooped up by a large record company.
Independent artist Alex Day, an Englishman who writes and plays his own music, advertises his songs on YouTube through his personal channel.
Americans, always looking for the latest new trend, are feeding on the variety of music flooding in from overseas. Belgian-Australian Gotye made it onto top-ten charts in nine countries with the single “Somebody that I Used to Know” featuring Kimbra.  Developing groups such  as The Swedish House Mafia, Avicii and Arkells are starting to make an impact.  This music is not just entertainment: it is a portal to new cultures.
“I like Israeli rock; in a lot of Eastern music they put in a lot of culture and incorporate folk elements,” said freshman David Lange.
International artists will increasingly make a dent in the American music industry, because young people are always looking for the next musician who can write lyrics that say exactly how we feel, and who creates a sound that can move mountains.