THE BLOG

Does All Music Originate From Africa?

19/08/2014 18:06 BST | Updated 19/10/2014 10:59 BST

A debate was started in our office this week - does all music originate from Africa?

Unashamedly I have tunes from Taylor Swift to Justin Timberlake on my playlists - but I was wondering is the reason I love Taylor's 'I Knew You Were Trouble' so much because it could easily pass for an RnB track that Rihanna could have sung?

Is the reason I love JT because of his innate soulfulness, and as he headlined the V Festival last weekend his dance moves reminded me of Michael Jackson back in the days?

More and more artists are crossing over their genres from rock music to rap, RnB to opera so the lines are increasingly becoming more blurred.

From hearing the sunny sounds of Starsailor on the xperia stage, and Olly Murs, who when he wasn't diving into the ball pit, was entertaining us with his light reggae inspired sounds, and even Foxes in the carling tent, it got me thinking, how do we actually define all this music?

Fuse ODG shed some light backstage - when the exciting British singer of Ghanaian descent told me: 'Beyonce knows about the African beats, Justin too. They've been in their tracks for years. It's such an exciting time right now for Afrobeats and to be part of it is great.'

I think it's a good thing too, so long as the music artists are putting out is BAD, in the Michael Jackson sense of the word of course.

As part of the panel for the Mobos this year it's never been more of an exciting time to look at acts for the shortlist.

It's not about colour - let's not forget this was the awards show that launched the late great Amy Winehouse, and she never forgot that because even at the height of her success she always came back to perform and pay homage to the music that inspired her breathtaking tracks that remain timeless even after her passing.

I've recently been introduced to Danielle de Niese, who is breaking the mould with her own spin on classical opera.

When I think of opera babes I immediately think of Katherine Jenkins. So it's good to see Danielle, who is of Sri Lanken, Dutch and Scottish descent, emerge as a breakthrough act. It's refreshing to see she is looking beyond her music too and is travelling to Tanzania this month as a voice of the International Rescue Committee to focus on combating child labour, after David Milliband asked her to join the mission.

That being said, I'm on my own mission to track down the stars who have influenced us the most through music of black origin.

The secret will be to keep an open mind - it's been an exciting year for British music with new talent emerging that has shaken up our US counterparts.