A violinist plays in the street as pedestrians pass by

Courageous Music Making

Every January begins with a choice. Which item on our ever-growing self-improvement list becomes our New Year’s resolution?

Might we suggest courageous music making? Miki-Sophia Cloud from A Far Cry explains it best – “At the end of the day, art isn’t about being fearless but being courageous. The fear is strong, no doubt. But the desire, the deep need to make this music and share it with other human beings, is simply stronger than the fear. That is our courage.”

21CM’s January issue features musicians in different stages of their musical evolution – being brave and following their gut. At one end of the artistic spectrum lie our 2015 POP winners – a person, organization, project and overall winner – honored for their artistic impact. We also have the new POP picks from guest curator, President and CEO of the New World Symphony Howard Herring.

In the middle of the spectrum are successful artists in project development. Banjo player Jayme Stone talks about Lomax Project, his folk music “collaboratory.” He also shares aspects of the group’s unique sound in our how-to videos for 21CM U.

Finally at the beginners’ side of the spectrum, we profile some of jazz’s female wunderkinds. We also bring back a 21CM favorite by New Amsterdam Record’s Judd Greenstein on trusting your artistic gut.

By choosing “courageous music making” for your New Year’s resolution, what other things might change for you in 2016? We can’t wait to find out!

Elizabeth Hinckley


21CM Announces 2015 POP Icon

2015 pop picks winners 1

Throughout 2015, our talented panel of artistic curators selected 40 people, organizations and projects they believed were advancing the art form in interesting ways. Each month, your voting narrowed down the field to ultimately create this year’s super pack of POP winners.


The Lomax Project – A Collaboratory

The Lomax Project members sit among houses with their instruments 0

Focusing on songs collected by folklorist and field recording pioneer Alan Lomax, The Lomax Project brings together some of North America’s most distinctive and creative roots musicians to revive, recycle and re-imagine traditional music.



The Fierce Young Women of Jazz

Cecile McLorin Salvant sings, masked in a lightning bolt graphic 0

As the trio plays the intro to “Wives and Lovers,” her nonplussed demeanor and polished white glasses provide no clue of what is to come. Then Cecile McLorin Salvant steps forward. With growl and bite and pop and light she reimagines each phrase – lending a sardonic girlishness tinged with wistfulness to the well-worn classic. It is a revelation.