There’s Magic in the Mashup

Michael Jackson, meet Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. You’re going to make beautiful music together – whether you like it or not.

I am a huge fan of the musical mash-up (a.k.a. “forced duet”). I’m particularly drawn to the blending of artists from completely different generations and genres. These seemingly ridiculous pairings are the ones that can generate the most magic.

That’s true outside the musical realm as well. Innovation springs from the intersection of disparate stuff. A familiar example is Cirque du Soleil, a mashup of the circus and the theater that has spawned a completely new artistic category.

Inspiring as Cirque is, the most exciting mashup potential resides in odd collaborations that lead to solutions for the most pressing of human problems. Cures for diseases. Environmental fixes. An end to poverty.

A recent pairing of two competing cancer drugs led to a 100 percent response rate. Just imagine what innovations could arise if we continue breaking down the (manmade) barriers to stretch our minds – and our humanity.

Mash it up, people!