New Rock Hall Chairman: It’s About Connecting With Young People
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has a new chairman stepping up — John Sykes — and he told Rolling Stone the meaning behind the whole organization is connecting with young people.
Sykes will be taking over as chairman following Jann Wenner, who co-founded the Hall in 1983, and has made the following statement regarding the future: "We’re in the music business, and music leads change in our culture. Nothing stays the same in music," Sykes explains. "Therefore, really, the institution that honors it has to evolve with all the music. Just like hip-hop is very much a part of the Hall of Fame now, everything we do — the board members we have, the events we build on — has to reflect a changing culture without ever disregarding or turning our backs on the ideals and fundamentals of the Rock Hall."
He went on to say that the Hall of Fame is about more than just one genre of music. "I’ve always thought that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — having been involved in it myself for 25 years now — is no longer about a single genre of music," Sykes defends of the Hall's diverse inclusion of artists. "It’s about a spirit that connects with young people ... I think that’s what it’s all about: the sound of young America. It will continue to evolve. Because if it doesn’t, it will become irrelevant."
The future chairman continues to detail certain qualities that the board will look at in the future when deciding on nominees and eventual inductees, including more people of color and women.
"What we’ve done so far is focus on building a group of inductees that have made it credible enough that all artists want to be part of it," Sykes continues. "They understand we really take the process very seriously and look at the artists that have truly impacted culture. We want to be involved in the broader conversation, yes — but only as it relates to what music truly shapes the lives of young people. Anything beyond that, we’re not interested, because there’s probably someone else who can do that."
Stay tuned for the 2020 nominees. At this point, the list is sure to be a doozy.
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