Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Some Wisdom From Bill Withers, Part 2

(This is a guest post by my friend Matt Slaughter, which will began yesterday.)

How can a songwriter create as freely as Withers, have artistic integrity, and make a living doing it? Granted, that's a multi-billion dollar question, but I believe it goes much, much deeper than that for songwriters. It’s the feeling in your bones when you see someone picked on. It’s the rush you feel when a dear friend speaks your name. It’s the gut-wrenching loss of appetite when a loved-one passes away. After acknowledging the Thoreau quote about men leading lives of quiet desperation, Withers said, "I would like to know how it feels for my desperation to get louder." True art must be created from the soul!

• Forget about the potential fruits of your labor- just create! Even if you can’t afford the sheets you sleep on with your music, it’s OK. Remember, it is an enormous privilege to even have the time and space to write. “It’s ok to head out for wonderful, but on your way to wonderful you’re going to have to pass through alright. And when you get to alright, take a good look around and get used to it because that may be as far as you’re going to go.” This is hardly a charge for mediocrity; rather, this is a charge for humility while pursuing a dream.

Maybe the declining profitability of the music industry is a good thing. In the same way fasting is healthy for the body, may this decline present an opportunity to ruthlessly weed out those looking for validation, fame, or riches at the expense of great art. Now, be your authentic self, find some real inspiration, and get to work!

For the love of music,



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