Violinist, vocalist and composer Caroline Shaw has made quite a name for herself in the classical music world as well as in pop music. Her music has been in the spotlight since she won the Pulitzer Prize for her Partita for Eight Voices in 2013. Her achievement drew much attention from prominent musicians and music critics, as she was the youngest ever Pulitzer Prize winner in the music category. She has been called a “modern Mozart” for her skills as a vocalist and violinist, as well as her style of composition, which has a connection to the old classical tradition. In another sense, she is being called “the future of music.” Her early fame has caught the attention of artists in the popular genre. One of these artists, Kanye West, has become a collaborator with Shaw, combining the elements of her music with his to create a completely new sound.
After her Pulitzer was awarded to her, West reached out to her to create a remix of his 2008 song Say You Will, from the album 808s and Heartbreaks. During the Democratic National Committee Fundraiser, Kanye West was scheduled to perform. Shaw appeared on the stage before him, as a sort of surprise for the audience. After she began performing, West then joined her on stage. This was the first public performance of the two together. The composer states that she was excited to work with West because of his artistic approach to music making and his unpredictability. She stated that he likes to try different ideas together and keeps tweaking them until he creates something new and unique.
This first collaboration led to many more. They have now been working together for multiple years, collaborating on both older tracks and creating remixes to create new tracks. Shaw’s arrangements have also been used in live performances. Her vocal writing style is prominent in their collaborations and adds drama to some of his live performances. This has also allowed his audience to be exposed to a new type of classical style, one that is not as traditional but is still smart, creative, and innovative. Her style adds new sounds and textures and helps create a whole new atmosphere for pop artists.
Through these collaborations, Caroline Shaw is bridging a gap between those who enjoy pop music and those who enjoy classical music. Through my own personal experience, I have noticed that once I find something online that interests me, it usually guides me to further research in the topic, or it is recommended to me by other websites based on my interests. Because of these recommendations, Shaw’s music has the ability to expose those who enjoy pop music to the classical world. Her new classical style could be the gate to combining the two genres together.
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