NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rock is dead? Long live rock. The Who sang it in 1974, but they might have been talking about 2011, at least according to MTV.
The cable TV music channel on Monday releases its “2011 Artists to Watch” list of the next big acts in music, and after years of seeing rap and hip-hop acts dominate the chart, a movement back to rock ‘n’ roll is afoot.
Groups including U.S. pop punk band A Day To Remember, Danish rockers New Politics and retro-flavored British act The Vaccines featured prominently on the list of nine, which last year predicted the rise of rappers Nicki Minaj and B.o.B.
Singer Jeremy McKinnon from A Day To Remember said rock could still break new ground by keeping the music “honest,” even in an era defined by the global influence of hip-hop.
“You have to connect with people. We write real songs, about everyday situations people can relate to,” he said via e-mail while on tour in Australia.
He called making the list “crazy” and added, “We’re just normal guys playing music that we want to play, and having a good time with it.”
The list is compiled by a committee of experts who are part or MTV’s music and talent team, headed by Amy Doyle.
She said the group considered all genres and factors such as talent, charisma, video and live performances.
“The millennial audience right now is into everything,” Doyle said. “(The list) tilts a little bit more rock. I would love for rock to have it’s moment again...it has been a pretty pop hip-hop music culture in the last year.”
While MTV expects rock acts to make headway in 2011, there were several rappers on the list, too, led by Wiz Khalifa. Already, Khalifa has seen his star rise with the help of well-known artists like Snoop Dogg. Khalifa’s song “Black and Yellow,” from his upcoming debut album, has gained 13 million YouTube hits and reached top spots on various U.S. charts.
“It’s definitely getting to the point where I am getting a lot of recognition for the work that I have been putting in,” he told Reuters. Khalifa noted he has been rapping for the last eight years and releasing mix tapes along the way.
“I have still got a lot of work to do and a lot of work that I have done, that people are yet to see. I’m real excited to be in the position I am in,” said the 23-year-old.
Khalifa releases his debut album in March. It was recorded in New York, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Miami, and includes production from Norwegian team Stargate, who have worked with the likes of Rihanna and Beyonce. On the debut, Khalifa promised to “talk about things in different ways” and “take it to the next level, keep it consistent.”
He is the latest musician to use Twitter and Facebook to help connect with his fans — “I got a wild imagination” — he said about what he tweets, and he is currently gaining fans on the “Waken Baken” tour across the United States.
Khalifa admitted most people classified him as “stoner rap,” but he sees himself simply as “a creative individual, as long as my name is in the list of people” who are creative.
The MTV list also included British rapper Tinie Tempeh and R&B singer Miguel, London pop rock duo Graffiti 6, Los Angles-based art rock group Warpaint and Californian band Middle Class Rut.
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte