EDM has officially breached the mainstream in a way all of us here at Your EDM could hardly have predicted. Joining the likes of famous pop musicians such as Madonna, last night Germany’s own Zedd briefly took over the Late Night Show with David Letterman to perform an acoustic version of his 2012 breakaway hit, Clarity. Seated in front of a black baby grand piano and accompanied by the CBS orchestra and fellow EDM artist Alvin Risk, the German prodigy unleashed a soulful rendition of his recent hit with Foxes on lead vocals.
After a somewhat awkward introduction by Letterman, Zedd demonstrated his musical prowess on the piano, despite the somewhat awkward ensemble. Foxes, the voice behind the hit, belted her lines accompanied by fellow plaid obsessed EDM artist Alvin Risk. Foxes voice failed to deliver the beautiful tone of the electronic original, falling flat and sharp throughout the performance. In essence the whole performance fell flat of the ethos that dance music represents.
This is not to criticize Zedd at all; in fact it’s quite the opposite. Zedd has earned the respect of countless dance fans for his ingenuity, quirk, and creativity he displays in his tracks. The performance on Letterman was precisely the opposite. Foxes took the main stage above Zedd, the focus was blurred and even a die-hard EDM fan like myself was unable to comprehend the necessity of the whole ordeal.
Ultimately this points to either a lack of understanding by the mainstream media towards EDM or even worse, exploitation of EDM’s popularity for commercial gain. The composer Zedd played a minor role in the whole affair, no interview was granted nor was any real recognition given. In fact, Letterman’s ratings have stagnated among the 18 to 34 year old range, (the majority market of EDM). Given this, it seems, at least to this critic that CBS was motivated to bring Zedd aboard primarily for the sake of bolstering views among a younger crowd. In this instance, EDM it seems was utilized to grasp the attention of younger viewers.
Despite all this, here at Your EDM we tip our hats to Zedd not for a spectacular performance but rather a spectacular marketing success. Yesterday was not aimed at promoting the music’s ethos, but rather at engaging its audience in a more mainstream manner. Only time will tell if and how the EDM community will react to this unprecedented move and while the signs from yesterday are all but clear, we remain hopeful.