Yet I'm not sure my instincts," hmm, that looks nice," have not calcified.

As for singing, it would be hard to consider hip hop as a progression, yet it is. As a classical singer, you are probably skilled, and this craft is most likely prized by your listeners, but it cannot be considered a living language. Of course you are not less of a singer, but neither are you advancing the song form.

I apologize. This seems a bit coarse to use your example. My own concern is that without new ideas, I may be imitating a broken record. We can really only answer this question for ourselves, but while its cold outside and I'm in a forum sort of way, I thought I'd fish the internet seas for thoughts.

Thanks for yours.