I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Juno award-winning musician Jesse Cook. As we chatted it became clear to me that there are some real similarities between those of us who write and those who make music.
Jesse is currently on tour with his new album One World, and when I asked him if he was going to work on a new album soon, he said no, and that he needed to be in the right space and preferred a break between records.
And that makes sense. Your creativity can’t be turned on at a whim, much as we’d love it, whether you are a writer, musician or artist. You have to be in the zone and when it’s not working, then far better to step away and go do something else.
I’ve often found too that when I am trying to do too much with a piece of writing – basically I haven’t thought through and prioritized my key messages – I need to walk away from the computer and gather my thoughts.
But when the words are flowing, I can’t get them down quick enough. My mind is racing with what I want to say. And I suspect it is exactly the same when composing music or painting a picture.
The key is to listen to that internal creative voice. Also most of us want to improve and enhance our craft and that can take time, travel and reflection so we can broaden our viewpoint.
Jesse, for example, is a bit of a music maverick in that he likes to break music rules and bring different music genres together. And clearly it is working for him as he’s sold over one and half million records.
Often he’s gone to countries, like Egypt, to draw on the style and music from musicians there. As he says music is universal. He chuckled when he told me about a visit to China and being invited to play with Tibetan musicians. “There we were, we didn’t even know how to say hallo to each other, but we could play music together.”
And that’s part of his message in the title of his new album One World. He questions why we tend to focus on our differences instead of the similarities and what we have in common, like music. He’s also chosen a tree for the cover, choosing that symbolism to represent the strong roots of a tree and the different branches representing the various genres of music.
I liked his message and between the music, the cover and the title he is saying so much and as a society, we need to listen.