Los Angeles, CA
BAKER is about to blow up. For the uninitiated, the New York-bred, current LA resident makes music you can't get out of your mind. His adrenaline-fueled dance-pop is relentless and makes the heart pound. He's all the more compelling because beyond the catchy beats and ear-worm hooks, you'll find a Harvard-educated musician who has trained as a classical cellist and doesn't let Autotune do the singing for him. You'll find someone whose family owns and operates one of the oldest men's custom clothiers in the United States. And someone who says, of his music, "It’s got a pulse. Not just with the bass lines or the drums but the emotion in them can hopefully be felt. You can dance to it and sing along to it but hopefully it’ll make your day a little brighter or your night a little longer."
As part of a series on Artsicle, we asked BAKER to sit down and curate a collection from among the works we have available. The pieces he chose, discussed below and on view here, advocate a personalized version of art. BAKER has chosen pieces simply because he likes them, without the pressure of outside opinions or the explicit influence of larger cultural tastes. We say, more power to him - and to you, too.
*click on any of the works below to see them in detail on Artsicle*
In the past, my walls have been bare; white as the driven snow. From my bedroom as a kid to the inside of my high school locker to my dorm room in college, many books, blu-rays, and especially CDs (I'm the last one still buying those) litter my shelves, drawers, cabinets, etc. but nothing in the name of more traditional forms of "art." Not because I didn't care for it (I've always spent a fair amount of time admiring whatever is hanging in my doctor's waiting room) but because it never occurred to me. That is, until recently . . . As an artist myself (albeit in a different field) I've been lucky enough to meet many others. I've learned a lot from them, and have been inspired to start a collection of my very own.
In the way that I need to listen to Young Jeezy sometimes to get through a tough workout or a Calvin Harris jam at a club to get me in the zone, I find the bold color of pieces like Jill Krutick's "Midnight" or Sohleya Ben-Amotz's "Redscape" create a sense of warmth and calm. That block of color on a wall can quiet the noise in my head and give me the clarity I need to finish the lyrics for a new song or come down from a long rehearsal with the band.
I grew up in New York City, so you might think my first memories were of a world replete with steel and concrete. For as long as I can remember though, when I think of my hometown (especially in the warmer months) I think of abundant greenery. This is unusual, certainly, but pieces like Robert Saywitz's "Downtown", Jeanette Koumjian's "Sante Fe Details, Canyon Road Cottonwood," or even Melanie Kozol's "Evergreen" recall Fifth Avenue on my walk home from school or a run through Central Park, or even the chaos that is finding a place to sit during lunchtime in Union Square. Now that I live in L.A. (a.k.a. the land of smog and desert), I sure do miss Manhattan . . .
When I first meet someone, it usually goes something like this:
"Yo what's up I'm BAKER."
"Yo, that's a cool name (I'm stretching here but it's my story...). What do you do?"
"I'm a singer."
"Oh. Ok. What kind of music do you sing?"
. . . And then I always draw a blank. My music is Pop more than any other genre because it's the only one that is not directly influenced by any geographical location or defined subculture. My songs have elements of EDM, R&B, alternative and many others all put in a blender to create what I hope is something that I'm proud of and can be enjoyed by others. And I've always seen Pop music and Pop art as inextricably linked.
I find there to be strong elements of Pop in pieces like Dan Bina's "Holiday Weekend," Douglas Newton's "Green Lollipops," and Rachel Cohen's "This is BS #5" that are at once broad and suggestive of other works of art, but also deeply personal and singular in their own right. That dichotomy is unmistakably Pop.
I definitely do not claim to be an authority on art. I wouldn't know if I was ever in the presence of a piece by a genius or a piece that would appreciate over time, but I think it's as simple as this: I like what I like. When I'm in the studio and hear a new, finished song, I can't think about whether it might chart well in Japan, or whether it would go viral on YouTube. I can only think about my head bopping up and down while I listen. If I bop, then I can dig it. And I guess everyone on some level must feel that way too, that collecting art can be just as simple. I need to connect with a piece to want put it on my wall. Bringing art into your home is very personal and your opinion is really the only thing that matters (unless, well, you have a roommate).
If you want to find out more about BAKER, his official website is here. Below is the video for his newest single, "Not Gonna Wait," and, with 2 million plus views on his official YouTube channel, this is a song we promise you will never be able to get it out of your head (not that we didn't warn you . . .).