David Bowie’s right hand man isn’t turned on by today’s music scene.
Tony Visconti, who produced half of Bowie’s albums, from 1975’s Young Americans through to Bowie’s last album, 2016’s Blackstar, lamented that “no one’s unique anymore” in today’s music.
Speaking at New York’s edition Reeperbahn Festival on Wednesday, the veteran producer said that today’s pop music landscape left him cold. He said that while the talent of an artist like Bowie was evident from his earliest recordings, he can’t see that spark in today’s superstars.
“That’s what turns me on, when I hear something new,” Visconti said at the conference.
Visconti expressed a low regard for the current pop music scene, saying, “Ariana Grande doesn’t make me cry.” He said the modern editing process can make finding talent more difficult since “anyone” can make a record.
“I knew he was unique from the first minute [of hearing his music], and it was a crap song,” he says about his introduction to David Bowie back in 1969 that sparked a lifetime partnership. “Back in the day you used to only get in front of the microphone if you knew what you were doing.”
Visconti and his fellow jurors were confident in the talent of last year’s winner, Albin Lee Meldau,who also spoke and performed at the conference. Meldau is noted for his refreshing vocals that blend blues and pop. Visconti also found the runner-up to posses unique artistic qualities.
“We’re currently talking,” Visconti cuts himself off about possibly working with last year’s runner-up. “I guess I just have radar [for finding unique artists].”
Visconti was the head juror for the festival’s International Music ANCHOR Award competition. During the press conference he vowed to find the most one-of-a-kind artist playing at this year’s festival. Reeperbahn is known for its unique artist discovery from around the world with over 800 different events ranging from concerts to art shows and panel discussions.
The main festival will be in Hamburg, Germany, September 20-23.