In the majority of these essays, I refer to musical references, because that’s what I’ve been gifted with (anyone who has received a hand painted birthday card can attest to where the music and the visual art disconnects in my hands). That being said, most of these concepts translate to any artform really, whether it’s writing, visual art, photography, dance, even science, math and general creative problem solving.
I will however continue writing from the perspective of music and rely on my talented contributors of other mediums to share their personal perspectives in their art forms.
So, what does it mean to serve the song?
This is a phrase heard often in the music world and every artist will have their own personal meaning for it.
I do believe that one of the main principles behind this concept and why I use it as one of my main principles in the way I work with artists, is that to serve the song is to acknowledge that the song and the life of the song is greater than the artist.
That’s hard to swallow, but humbly accept, a song - especially an iconic song - transcends the artist themself.
What does this mean? Think of artists who are some of the biggest names in the history of music, who died before their fame really took off (Van Gogh, Jimi Hendrix - to an extent, Edgar Allen Poe). I’m sure these artists would have liked to have known how popular they would become, but the point is this: their lack of fame during their lifetimes, didn’t inhibit them from creating their art.
I’m sure they had their ups and downs and big bouts of depression. However, they didn’t stop listening to the muse. They just did it, because they couldn’t have done anything else.
So when we humble acknowledge we are serving the song, we acknowledge that we are doing our best to honor the music that is coming to us. We are dictators and tape recorders of music traveling on another plane trying to get to Earth.
And here’s the important part, if we forget this and let our ego blow up, start saying stuff like, “I’m the greatest that ever lived!” and “Everything I touch turns to gold!” and all the typical rock star comments, in those moments, we disconnect from the music. We take credit for something we didn’t really create.
This is the moment when big artists suddenly become larger than life and are mere caricatures of their former selves. They are disconnected from the music.
It’s okay, this happens to everyone. It’s kinda part of the journey.
But if you find yourself in a moment where your ego is out of proportion and it’s hard for you to really hear great, undeniable music. Sit with that. Acknowledge that. Humbly ask for forgiveness.
It’ll come back, in a big way. But only when you’re willing to ask your ego to leave the room when it’s time to create.