“The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” – Lao Tzu

We haven’t even reached the halfway mark of 2016 and already, it has left a gaping hole in the middle of the music world’s heart. While a majority of us may have never had the chance to meet our greatest idols and influences, their death has this seismic ripple effect that can feel deeper than one would expect.  The whole world goes through it with you. It feels as though we’ve lost a piece of ourselves, a time of our lives, even a friend.  Music is extremely personal and emotional, so it is no wonder the loss felt echoes beyond blood or close relationships.

What is left in the wake of such tremendous forces parting? Clearly, their art remains … the hits, the back catalogues, the videos. Just as you may have been touched or influenced by a certain song or album, so have a plethora of other musicians since them. So many artists likely attribute some of their first loves in music to the likes of Prince, David Bowie, George Martin, Phife Dawg and amazing others recently departed. The music lives on through them.

 The music lives on through them.

Take Questlove from The Roots, for example. He has been very vocal about his deep respect for Prince and how his music helped to mould his own young, creative mind. Speaking of the time when Purple Rain released in 1984, Quest told Rolling Stone “Everyone suddenly knew what I knew, which is that Prince was like nothing else, and that he was everything”. The Roots are one piece of an enormous puzzle of talent burning a torch that Prince lit for them once so long ago. So who set the fire for Prince’s creativity before he ever picked up a guitar? And who did David Bowie, the Thin White Duke, consider to be worthy of his own taste and praise? Everyone has a beginning, as an end — but they are all woven together in a beautiful tapestry that keeps on reaching into the ears and minds and souls of people today and on into the future.

We’ve tapped into a few late, great artists for this month’s playlist to span across the board on their own sonic influences and whom they’ve subsequently gone on to affect. Music is a gift, thank you all for sharing yours.

Image via Müjgan Afra Özceylan

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