It may go without saying that pop music in the 2010s has been as influenced by the '80s as it has by the internet.
Enter Anthony Rankin: if you haven't heard his name, you will very soon. Called one of the top emerging artists in the industry by Kings of A&R, this young musician (and we mean musician—he can play most instruments at a virtuoso level) displays with blinding clarity all of the star power, chops, and vocal prowess to go head-to-head with just about any household name.
Over the course of the last year, under the collaboration and guidance of Swedish-born producer and Nashville tour veteran Victor Brodén, Rankin has written and recorded a game-changing trilogy of EPs entitled Love Elektrik. Says Jessica Morishita of Confront Magazine, "[Like that of] Bruno Mars, Maroon 5 and Prince, [Rankin's music is] sexual, it’s raw and if you weren’t in the mood to dance before, you certainly are once it hits the speakers."
Deemed "a true master of pop music" by Jake’s Take blogger Jake Elyachar, Anthony’s unflinching allegiance to the genre with a wide eye cast towards its history have carved the real cornerstone of his music. Rankin is anything but shy in his approach: from the anthemic U2-meets-Daft Punk arc of lead single "Phoenix in Vegas" to the punkish bravado and Minneapolis funk-turned-rave of "Guyliner"; from a poignant pledge to his lover in the striking piano ballad "Name in the Stars" all the way to "Lexi J" – a lithe, dangerously sexy ode to an exotic dancer that is destined to become the "Pony" of this generation. Not since Prince has an artist so seamlessly bended genre and preconception while making undeniably original music with mass appeal.
"Pop is a way of life more than it is just a genre of music," says Rankin. "It’s empowering and infectious, from the clothes we wear to our dreams and aspirations. It inspires us to be our truest selves, to unabashedly champion our individuality but to see and appreciate each other in the same light. The best pop music is never heavy or pretentious, but exceptionally sincere. Whether it’s Rihanna or INXS, pop has a way of connecting many people who are not necessarily similar, and I have always strived to make music that could speak to the entire world."
Considering that artists as opposite as Katy Perry and Peter Gabriel are filed under the same category, pop has also tended to borrow bits and pieces from all other genres, making it an indefinable stylistic melting pot that fits like a tailor-made suit for someone with as diverse a musical background as Rankin. "I grew up learning and playing everything from Texas blues to progressive metal to pop-country to Steely Dan," he shares. "As long as it had hooks and melodies, I was addicted."
From the frantic synthesizers and youthful lyric of "Melanie" to the Maxwell-ian swagger of "Neon Wings" (a fitting closer to the Love Elektrik series) Anthony Rankin’s songs are those of a complete artist going for broke with reckless abandon, a star-in-waiting with serious range yet an unwavering and uncompromising vision. And in the midst of today’s new world order of pop superheroes, he just may be the total Darwinian evolution of the genre.