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Any musician whose music is unique enough to be considered almost a genre unto themselves.

One that comes to mind for me is Frank Zappa.
 

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I am told that no man is an island but when I play, that's where I should be; on a lonely island.
 

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Brian Eno?
 

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There are some, but they'll likely be somewhere in the realm of "serious music" (what some call "classical") or jazz. If they have a recording contract with a label that doesn't specialize in oddballs, then chances are pretty good they have that contract because they're like some other artist or reflect a particular existing genre.

There are certainly one-offs in the jazz guitar world, like Stanley Jordan, or Sonny Sharrock. Even Frank Zappa, as unique a voice as he was, borrowed heavily from others. The Absolutely Free album lifted considerable passages from Stravinsky and Holst, among others.

If one wishes to be popular, you're going to have some elements that are familiar to your intended audience. I thought Prince was pretty distinctive, but took plenty from others who came before him, and had plenty of contemporaries who emulated him. So as much as I liked him, and considered him a creative force, it would be very hard to classify him as a "genre unto himself".
 

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Tough one...Jeff Beck(?). I was listening to the track "Nadia" last night and besides being mind boggling, it combines blues, middle eastern/tabla with techno music. He did a few albums in that same vein starting with Who Else in the late '90's. I thought it was a new genre in itself but not sure....

I've never heard that before - that's a fantastic tune.
 

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Isn't there another thread recently about Henry Kaiser that would qualify? Lol.

How about "Listener"? I remember this guy from just over a decade ago. Played tiny shows for 20 people. Best part was his shows doubled as a bring your own food buffet where and he just chilled with everyone before and after the show. At the time he was really struggling to invent a whole new music genre he called "talk music". Not much rhythm to the vocals and no real rhyming, sections, or patterns to speak of. More like essays spoken passionately over background music. Even background music can be a stretch for some songs. If I remember correctly, one "song" just had a girl pounding a washing machine with an axe that was wrapped in towels. This thread made me think of him and look him up again. Holy crap, some of his stuff now has 500k+ views on YouTube.

I would call them a genre unto themselves. Others would argue they are not a music act but a performance piece. Love it or hate it, it's definitely unique.
 

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Isn't there another thread recently about Henry Kaiser that would qualify? Lol.

How about "Listener"? I remember this guy from just over a decade ago. Played tiny shows for 20 people. Best part was his shows doubled as a bring your own food buffet where and he just chilled with everyone before and after the show. At the time he was really struggling to invent a whole new music genre he called "talk music". Not much rhythm to the vocals and no real rhyming, sections, or patterns to speak of. More like essays spoken passionately over background music. Even background music can be a stretch for some songs. If I remember correctly, one "song" just had a girl pounding a washing machine with an axe that was wrapped in towels. This thread made me think of him and look him up again. Holy crap, some of his stuff now has 500k+ views on YouTube.

I would call them a genre unto themselves. Others would argue they are not a music act but a performance piece. Love it or hate it, it's definitely unique.
The haunting Steel lines were gorgeous - I enjoyed that.
 
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