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Every classically trained pop musician has travelled a route that began with musical orthodoxy, discipline, structure and attainment, and then, in the embracing of pop's far less formal yet still time-honoured traditions, involved both an un-learning – the best pop music should surely be, and is, about breaking rules, not sticking to them – and a fidelity to the sounds and textures they were immersed in as children and adolescents. Artists such as St Vincent, Joanna Newsom, The National's Dessner brothers, Laura Mvula, Matt Bellamy of Muse, Agnes Obel, James Blake, Susanne Sundfor, Jeff Buckley and Julia Holter all managed that transition seamlessly: they stepped across to the "other side", as it were, and established storied reputations in their adopted field. Crucially, in doing so, they kept, too, a firm grip on the musical touchstones that first led them to devote their lives to creativity.

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