The word "tastemaker" gets thrown around a lot in the music "biz" (slang for "business"). Janessa Slater is probably one of the biggest—if not THE biggest—shotcaller in the industry. Most of your favorite artists of 2014 would be nowhere without the media coaching of Slater. She has a web series, Sound Advice, featuring a free glimpse at her costly coaching "sesh" (slang for "session"). Since she clearly has her finger on the pulse on the hottest music trends and artists and has a firm grasp on what the kids like, Noisey asked her to grant us some insights from this year. Here's what she liked and didn't like...
Hi, I'm media coach Janessa Slater and you may know me from being the best in the biz on my show, Sound Advice. Y'all feel me? Here's my best and worst of the year in music. First let's start with the best.
Several of my clients are Grammy-nominated. Coincidence? I think not. Also, they were mostly strong, independent women like myself. That's right, off-putting twins Tegan and Sara were nominated for their kids' song, alien-person St. Vincent was nominated for weirdest album of the year or something, and Super-Jews Haim were nominated for best new music to play inside an Urban Outfitters. My favorite new boy band Bastille was also nominated for least accurate portrayal of a historic event, a.k.a. Pompeii.
What else, what else. I'm very into my intern Jack Antonoff's new band Bleachers (I know, we need to work on the name—what is this, a track meet?) I think their song, "I Wanna Get Better" was even inspired by my session with Jack's other band, Fun. (I know, the name of that band sucks too.)
Also loving Sara Bareilles and excited for her new musical based on what she'll be doing in two years.
Frank Turner, I hardly even know her! But seriously, he's a good artist if you want to listen to some drunk guy playing acoustic guitar and singing love songs in a weird accent.
Can't stop listening to Taylor Swift. We were born the same year so I feel like we have a real connection—also some people say I'm a nightmare dressed like a woman who's holding on by a thread.
And then there's Drake. What's not to like about Drizzle? He's a tall, dark, handsome chosen one. I am worried about him, though. Lately he's just been singing verses in other peoples raps instead of making new Drake raps. That seems like a step back career wise—like a TV personality doing a web series.
As far as worst of the year, I don't really like to participate in negativity, name calling, etc. I think it takes the focus off the music and can hinder a constructive conversation. I think all the bands that know me, and hopefully the bands that know of me, know that I think they're all great aside from their music sounding like garbage and their images being juvenile at best.
Can't wait for 2015. Please let me know if anyone wants to book a sesh!