Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Music still can change the world
Sainte-Marie, in an interview from her home in Hawaii, where she has lived since the late 1960s, says the need for voices such as hers hasn't diminished.
"Greed is still around, war is still around," Sainte-Marie says.
But she says profiteering isn't only limited to masters of war. These days it also determines what records can say.
"I think it's just a conflict, not in the heart of artists — who very often do care — but in the heart of the marketplace and the people who distribute and are trying to be aware of the business side," she says. And the artists "are probably afraid to offend people."
Sainte-Marie says there still are singers who write such songs, citing Sting, Paul Simon, fellow Canadian Randy Bachman of BTO and "even Prince has written some songs of meaning."
"But I don't think that the marketplace supports them, and most people look at 'show biz' from that perspective — you know, careerism and success," she says."I think a lot of artists just get talked out of it because their record companies think it's not sellable."
And, Sainte-Marie says, "people who stick their necks out like me will sometimes get their heads chopped off."
Sainte-Marie, a Native American born on a Cree reservation in Canada, arose out of the same Greenwich Village folk scene that produced Dylan. She found early success as a songwriter, with Elvis Presley and Barbara Steisand recording her "Until It's Time for Us to Go." In 1964 she was Billboard magazine's Best New Artist.
By John J. Moser, OF THE MORNING CALL