The excellent blog Flavorwire
has an amazing catalogue of inventively themed galleries well worth clicking through. The most recent, in which songwriters from Leonard Cohen to Thom Yorke to Fiona Apple to Alicia Keys share short thoughts on the art of songcraft
, specifically about the question of how much of genius is about inspiration and how much is simply hard work. Interesting to see how widely the theories differ.
John Lennon, for instance:
“Songwriting is about getting the demon out of me. It’s like being possessed.”
Nick Cave, meanwhile:
“Inspiration is a word used by people who aren’t really doing anything. I go into my office every day that I’m in Brighton and work. Whether I feel like it or not is irrelevant.’”
Consider Trent Reznor:
“If I come up with rules or limitations it focuses me in a direction. And those rules can change if you realize it’s a dumb idea. You start to mutate it to see what fits best.”
Then consider Bob Dylan:
“If you like someone’s work, the important thing is to be exposed to everything that person has been exposed to. Anyone who wants to be a songwriter should listen to as much folk music as they can, study the form and structure of stuff that has been around for 100 years.”
Oh, just go read the whole thing!