One thing I need to divorce myself of in 2014 – and to the extent I have any real influence, I would want other artists to as well – is the belief that the now ubiquitous act of studying the changing attitudes and behavior of a society when it comes to how they do or don’t consume music has ANYTHING at all do to with me or the kind of work I want to create.
It might matter to concert promoter or a record company or a journalist how people are consuming music, but it should never be a good enough reason why I wouldn’t want to make it. There is empirically nothing inside the autopsy of an attitude in listening habits that should change the music that someone’s heart tells them to make.
2014 is the year of doing, not thinking. I could live the rest of my life in the theoretical “idea space,” a fancy name given to what often should just be called “pure inaction,” but sometimes, it doesn’t come down to a rousing cerebral back and forth on why I should or shouldn’t make my next record here or there or with this person or that one. Sometimes, if you spend too much time debating between two places to go, you miss the flight.
This year I resolve to create more; write more songs, book more studio sessions with musicians I don’t have a master plan for the purpose of, take more photos, take more chances. For the past several years I’ve seen expression as a vulnerability, and certainly for some of that time it was necessary, but it’s not anymore. I want to use at least half the time I used to spend debating whether it’s worth doing actually DOING IT. If you’re an artist, and you want to do it, and that “it” exists inside your art, DO IT. An artist should be able to make it now and let the audience tell them what it was or wasn’t without a TED talk-level of explanation before even trying to create it. The artist-as-strategist paradigm might be a compelling thought on some level, but one thing it isn’t is fun.