David Bowie constantly changed throughout his career. He could’ve been Ziggy or the Thin White Duke for the rest of his career, but he kept changing and evolving. The same with Prince. He could’ve just stayed as that guy in Purple Rain, but he kept changing and evolving. Björk could’ve stayed the sort of elfin pixie of her early albums, but she took a chances and kept changing what she does. She plays many of the same songs on tour, but rearranges them and gives them new life with different instruments: a brass band, a choral group, a string section, electronics. She took a chance on revealing her personal heartbreak and tragedy on Vulnicura, her latest album. The result is a very intimate and stunning recording.
The same can be said for composers like John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, or Iannis Xenakis. Cage could’ve kept writing music for tin cans and everyday objects, like ‘Third Construction,’ but he moved on, creating all types of different music for all types of different instruments.
One thing could be said of genius, it has a restless spirit.
But you don’t have to be a genius to keep evolving. Perhaps the antithesis to genius is fear.
Fear that you will fail.
Fear that no one will accept your new work.
Fear that you are out of ideas.
Fear that you are too old to reinvent yourself.
Fear that you won’t make any money.
Fear that no one will understand your work.
Fear, fear, fear.
The great ones who we look up to have fear, but they face it. Bowie was 68 and dying from cancer, yet he produced his most stunning and amazing work in Blackstar.
To afraid of moving forward?
He remained focused and creative right up to the end. He could’ve given us some sort of Ziggy Stardust recreation, and it would’ve been accepted. But he pushed himself and created something new that tied into all his previous work together. And it’s been hailed as his masterpiece by many. Quite a feat for a dying man.
So what about us mortals?
I realize that a lot of artists are content to keep doing the same thing over and over, because it pays and they have a comfortable lifestyle. I can’t argue that, nor condemn anyone who makes that choice.
But what about the others, the dreamers, the if only types? How many times can you play a cover song, like Proud Mary, choking it down like a dry sandwich caught in your throat, just because it brings in a paycheck? How many times can you do one thing, while something else burns deep inside you?
Bowie knew his time was limited, yet he burned fiercely, creating something new and different, when he could’ve just called it a day and lived on his legacy.
Prince didn’t know his time was up, yet he kept stretching things, playing a solo tour, with just himself and a piano, in the weeks before he died.
If you’ve got something you need to say or do, then say or do it! If you are too comfortable, then deconstruct what you do.
Don’t be too comfy in your life.
Don’t worry what others will think.
Articles Origin: Digging Deep and Finding New Vistas