18 Mar, 2012 Artist’s Talk
Considering how long I have been listening to artists in one shape or form, it still feels as wonderful as ever to be immediately stopped in my tracks and instantly inspired by the talented minds and attitudes of others who might be known mostly for the sounds they make but also increasingly for their attitudes towards things that will always be much bigger, and much more important, than fame and success.
The wonder of all that I just described happened three times to me over the last three days, and yet almost none of it involved listening to a single note of music. That I will probably get round to later tonight when I settle down to listen to some varied tracks, alone in a room and almost certainly with my eyes shut. I guess that is just how I like to do it.
Entertainment apart, people like Springsteen and Lennox have been selflessly inspiring and informing for longer than most of us can recall. In fact, the consistency of their actions has led them to be almost as good at championing human (and artistic) causes as they are as recording artists That is really saying something when, in my opinion, as artists they are perhaps among the “best ever.”
And yet they continue, and tirelessly so, using “their name”, the “name” that fame gave them, to support, to cajole and protest, and so very much more, all in relation to subjects that have stirred principles in their hearts. Principles that ideally would be a benefit to more of us should we also find more time and meaning in considering them.
With Springsteen, sometimes it seems like he just wants to talk as a way to inspire anyone and everyone. No more is that notion so clearly outlined to me as when he did so for the most part just a couple of days ago in Austin at the SWSW event. (See link below.)
His words should be all any young songwriters need as added inspiration and forceful encouragement, from one who knows as much as anyone re how it feels to stand lonely at a microphone, within a darkened hall, and then take a deep breath before uttering words of varying articulacy that you alone have ripped out of your insides. Already a colossal fan, he had me saluting him even further, even promising myself to swallow every word of his advice as he recommended that all performers should “stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive.” Words precise, and so true!
Annie Lennox perhaps seems less occupied with music these days than she does with missions out with her artistic career. Easily possessed of the will and drive that is necessary to all who crusade against ignorance and its exploits, it would be almost impossible for me to admire her more than I already do. As banal a statement as it is, she makes me proud to be a Scot, she also makes me want to be a better human.
In comparison the artist known as “Plan B” is obviously a new kid on the block. That said, the kind of wisdom that he transmitted during his recent “talk” made me think that I was listening to “a very wise old head”. The clarity within the examples that he chose in which to make his point, pointed towards a mind that is brilliantly sharp and utterly effectively. But it is the amount of “heart” that he possesses that I find compelling. He was charm personified and that is not always the case with individuals who are so complete within their confidence. Or at least to me he was charm personified. But then again maybe I just completely “get “ what he has to say so easily, considering that I too am from a housing estate – and in many ways always will be.