Gabriel Kahane plays guitar. Graphic pluses float around him.

The Plus Factor

This month’s issue contains theorizing, arguing, conjecture and more than a touch of envy. Our goal is to get a little closer to the indefinable, such as pondering the nature of “It” – a you-know-it-when-you-feel-it quality that separates the supernatural artists from everyone else – and considering what the plus factors of these successful musicians might be or questioning the fuzzy rules of the whole music system.

Everyone has their “It” artists, and one of ours is Gabe Kahane, a multitalented musician who thrives on disparate musical ideas. His latest album, The Fiction Issue, out in early February, presented the perfect opportunity to run a wonderful piece he recently wrote for his blog on why he dislikes genres in music.

Kahane’s intellectual curiosity reminds me of John Kenny, an unconventional trombonist who Mark Rabideau features in his continuing series Why Practice? Both of these artists are representative of musicians with plus factors – a phenomenon I hash out in “The Art (and Science) of ‘It.’” There’s even a mathematical formula.

Finally, along with our latest round of POP Picks chosen by our editorial team, this month’s 21CM Book Club read is written by two trailblazing young entrepreneurs who provide practical wisdom and advice on how to stay true to your art and have a career – the ultimate balancing act.

We can’t wait to hear from you, our readers, about artists you believe have “It,” and if there are any plus factors we missed!

Yours truly,
Elizabeth Hinckley
Editor at Large