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Image: Artwork on a city centre music venue by Stephen Woods

Living the Urban Dream

Written by Stephen Woods

As March marches on it's amazing that Drake has been at number one in the UK singles chart for nine weeks with his single God's Plan. Drake, who is originally from Toronto, also spent fifteen weeks at number one with One Dance in 2016. To put it in to context, according to The Official Charts the songs that spent the longest time at number one in the charts are: I Believe by Frankie Laine at 18 weeks in 1953, (Everything i Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams at 16 weeks in 1991 and Love Is All Around by Wet Wet Wet at 15 weeks in 1994, which Drake equaled in 2016 with One Dance. There are also seven singles which have been at number one between ten and fourteen weeks by different artists. It's a dream come true for an artist to reach number one and then have longevity at the top spot. When you look at what else has topped the charts this year; River by Eminem featuring Ed Sheeran was number one for a week in January and before that Ed Sheeran was at number one for six weeks with Perfect. There is a distinct urban influence on pop music at the moment.

According to a UN report in 2014, more than half the world's population live in urban areas and it is a trend that is set to increase in the future. With more people living in urban areas the amount of mega-cities have increased as well. Mega-cities are defined as cities with more than ten million inhabitants. When you put this together with how popular music taste has evolved perhaps it's inevitable that with more people living in large urban areas the music that is created is going to be heavily influenced by the surroundings. Urban music for the urban generation. Drake and Eminem are HIp-Hop/Rap artists. Hip-Hop and Rap originated in inner city areas. Drake sings about life and has had three UK number one singles and one UK number one album. Eminem has had nine UK number one singles and eight UK number one albums to date. His sings about life and politics with outspoken lyrics and he samples music and collaborates with other artists. Ed Sheeran also collaborates and has had five UK number one singles and three UK number one albums. His sound is influenced by different things including Hip-Hop and Irish music whilst remaining mainstream. There are exceptions of course. There always are in every era - from one hit wonders to legacy artists - but when you look at the songs that have climbed the charts you can see the urban influence, from Grime artists such as Stormzy and Skepta to Pop/R&B and Drum & Bass artists like Khalid, Dua Lipa and Rudimental.

With the rise of digital, people have had more access to a wide variety of music. Artists have become influenced by different genres and have also collaborated to spark creativity and pool fan bases. Artists rise due to a mixture of talent and hard work but mainly when the music they create resonates with the people of the time. Drake has had a good run and maybe it will continue or perhaps somebody else will take the top spot soon. Regardless of what happens, nine weeks at number one is a significant achievement. We can speculate and look at the trends and see what people are listening to, but for now, we're living the urban dream.


Music is food for the soul.

Stephen Woods

Stephen is a former Assistant Event Producer who has worked on the production of major live events. He created MusicIsFoodForTheSoul.com to post about things that catch his eye. His interests include sport, music, design, leadership, innovative and socially responsible businesses and writing poetry and lyrics.
Check out his website: StephenJamesWoods.com
Follow: @WoodsStephen.