(Find out who will be nominated for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards live on "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night" on Nov. 30 from 10–11 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.)
It would be a good story if my initial discovery of music had been like a light bulb going on in my head or a whispering divine wind. But my story is like any other...at least at first. My grandfather played music at family gatherings and I sat with my face six inches from the mandolin. I played recital after recital, with my father dutifully in attendance and cheering me on. I collected cassette tapes from daily trips to Sam Goody as if they were the candy other children fed on so heavily. But then I grew up. I hit 12.
In that seminal pre-teen year, two things happened: I got my first game-changing Casio keyboard, and I heard "Groove Is In The Heart" from Deee-Lite's 1990 album World Clique. I could have been like any other kid, playing around on my new keys until something else caught my eye. But instead, Deee-Lite's album ensured that my little keyboard changed everything. I picked apart every key choice and tonal change. I learned that slide whistles can accompany body rolls and vocal snippets are instruments in their own right. Music became more than just a casual hit on the charts; it grew to encompass an essential part of my DNA. And at the heart of it all for me was Deee-Lite and the rest of the dance and electronica genre.
In the 20 years since, that field has continued to grow and change the face of music. Dance and electronica artists set the world on fire with their global vocabulary focused on movement and sound rather than language. They are among the first musicians to maximize the nature of the digital world, including different engineering techniques. And they pushed the conception of what it means to be "mainstream," bringing meat dresses and Swedish pop to music fans across the world. Dance and electronica music and artists have exploded because, in these innovative engagements, they have not just been a part of the conversation, they have led it.
And this year, as GRAMMY.com's first official dance/electronica blogger, I am proud to participate in that conversation at a time when the field is strong and vibrant. It has an incredibly diverse array of performers. From Lady Gaga and La Roux to Daft Punk, Donna Summer, Madonna, and Cher, artists the world over are vying to produce music that moves the hips and challenges the mind. This year, they have done just that. And while no one at The Recording Academy is dropping any hints about what might be in store for this year's awards, I can tell you the white-knuckled experience will begin on Nov. 30 when we all learn the nominees together.
I hope you'll be online to share in that experience and talk about it together, as well as in the months that follow. I know I will, and I am proud and privileged to be the official GRAMMY.com dance/electronic blogger. Follow me on GRAMMY.com and at www.kickkicksnare.com.