Questlove’s Quest: Bringing televised music back into prominence

The Roots' Questlove is using his knowledge and unique position to reinvent televised music (Photo: courtesy of npr.org)

The Roots’ Questlove is using his knowledge and unique position to reinvent televised music (Photo: courtesy of npr.org)

MTV has failed. Once hailed as the place to go for televised music 24/7, much of its melodic programming has been replaced by dumbed-down reality shows and celebrity gossip. Questlove knows this and he has made it his goal to see music return to prominence on TV.

Ahmir Thompson, a.k.a. Questlove, is the drummer and leader of The Roots, the extremely talented and eclectic house-band featured on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He’s also one of the creative geniuses behind much of the musical frivolity on the show, from Jimmy and Justin Timberlake’s “History of Rap” segments to what has to be the most unique rendition ever of Idina Menzel’s hit song from the movie Frozen, “Let It Go.”

Still, that’s just not enough for Quest. As someone who was raised on televised music programs like Soul Train and Midnight Special, Questlove has an affinity for the genre and he is doing everything possible to share that love with as broad an audience as possible. Thus, the reason behind his newly created TV show, SoundClash!

The show premiered Wednesday night on VH1 and, according to an article in The Daily Beast, has a simple, yet extremely interesting concept: “Take three artists from three wildly different genres and have them play a concert together. Each artist has a chance to take the spotlight, and after an hour of music that transitions from rap to rock to pop and back again, the three acts unite for one collaborative performance.” Check out the trailer below.

As someone who has been a fan of The Roots and Questlove for sometime, I’ve got my fingers crossed that this new show will be a hit. Quest’s vision – his mission in life – is to take music out of the box and unleash it, in all of it’s wondrous forms, upon the world. Hardly anyone listens to just one genre of music, and a show like SoundClash is a perfect opportunity for people to discover diversity and collaboration. It can also go a long way towards revitalizing interest in music television in a way that popularity contests such as American Idol or X Factor could never achieve.

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