Popnog 10: Yoko Ono On Dance Music, Genres and Her Hope for 2014
By Stacy Lambe
What is there to say about Yoko Ono that hasn't been said before? After 50 years in the music business, Ono has released over 20 original albums, crossed boundaries and genres, and has still found new ways to connects with fans. This year proved to be no different. At the age of 80, the singer owned the dance charts. She scored two number one singles, "Hold On" and "Walking On Thin Ice 2013," on the Billboard Dance Hot Dance Club Songs, a record shared only by Avicci and Daft Punk.
As she closes out 2013, Ono answers the Popnog 10, revealing what still inspires her as an artist, why EDM is taking over the pop charts and what she's looking forward to in 2014.
1. Are you ever surprised that you have found a second life as an artist in dance music?
I thought I would keep having new lives. So that was not a surprise. It was surprise that it came to me as dance stuff.
2. Your foray into dance music really started with the remix album, “Yes, I’m a Witch.” What inspired you to put out that record?
I use to put out an album every year. These days I'm not doing that. So I thought I'd like to do one.
3. “Hold Me” is one of the first original dance tracks you recorded. How did you approach creating the song?
I just thought - now, what do we all really want? Money? Power? Love? And I started singing HOLD ME.
4. How, if at all, was it different from creating some of your earliest work?
I'm always the same.
5. What inspires you to create music now?
Because I love to make music and I get frustrated if I don't.
6. Your approach to new sounds and ideas has contributed to your longstanding career. How important is it for artists to go “outside the box”?
I never went outside of the box intentionally. I was outside of the box since I was born.
7. EDM reached a new level of popularity in 2013. What do you think has contributed to its growing appeal?
So many bands are now seeing revival. I think it is good that they are allowing us to share their energy again.
8. With artists like you and Lorde blurring the lines between different types of music, do you think genres are still relevant? Should we re-evaluate the labels we apply to popular music?
Dance music, for instance, has a strikingly new form and it is stimulating the music world with it now. But it is not totally independent from other music forms. The ratio is probably 10 percent or 15 percent of the music originating from other music forms. So you don't have to necessarily create a new name for it. You can call it African music - plus - or something. But that is not even necessary.
9. Looking into the future, what do you hope for most in 2014?
I hope we fight less and dispense injustice, violence and war.
10. If you had a spirit animal, what would it be?
I will change the spirit I am adopting according to what I feel is necessary. I will adopt the spirit of a canary, when I want to sing to my baby. I will adopt the spirit of the male leopard when I want to run fast.