I love uncovering new music and the reasons why people listen to it. It gives me an indication of who they are, a hint about their core beliefs and how they operate in the world. For a long time my music of choice was of a melancholic nature. And can you blame me? Some bad shit happened to me! Yet, a few things have happened that gave me a new perspective if you will…
My Mexican, who I am madly in love with, introduced an entire world of music to my ears. Now being in love and loving him is wonderful to be honest. And with it comes revelations, transformations and a few adjustments. Allow me to explain. He is all groove and energy. I am more focused on melody, the voice and words. Some of the music he loves aims to…wake one up! Now this makes sense if you consider than all my Mexican wants is that the world wake up from its mental, political and economic lethargy. I, on the underhand, want to understand the causes of that lethargy, the core beliefs that lead to the very real consequences we see in the world.
The revelation about music and how it reflects different ways of being made me question the place I call home. Cape Town, known as the Mother City, because everything takes ages to come to fruition and because it is the birth place of one of the First Nation People, is known for its love of ‘old school music’. In other words music steeped in nostalgia, the past and a way of being that has very little to do with the current reality. A place where people are trying their best to break free. As much of that past is either shrouded in lies or denial. Johannesburg, on the other hand is a city where all manner of voices find expression in the latest music genres or art forms, where consumption is rabid and its people are constantly trying to reinvent themselves and live their best lives.
So where does this leave the artist, the musician? Personally, all artists should live in Cape Town, or places like Her, in order to nurture their voices and then move to bigger cities. Perhaps what I am speaking of is the fragile and sometimes precarious edge where the past and future converge, a place all creative beings live on. Venturing into any creative field demands that you confront your past and decide between the probable futures. This cannot be done if your head is stuck in the past. Or if you are only focused on your future. The present requires you look both ways before crossing the street.
As an ambassador to TLC Alzheimer’s Homes, I know that our elderly have great wisdom to impart. Their stories and their unique take on the world is often forgotten. As a creative those are the voices I listen to as I hunt for instruments of old or musical phrasing that will invigorate. Then I consult my daughter. She is very good at spotting sounds and musicians on the leading edge years before anyone else does. The process of finding a musical landscape that fits my voice and musical inclinations become so much easier…and only after I have found creatives that will accompany me on that journey, do I cross the street…
I always have an idea for the next album I want to release. These ideas and stories ferment for a long time before they see the light. I do not push or try to hasten this process. Timing is everything. I know the people, old and new, will find me. Along with the producers, musicians, artists and people who will share their stories with me. I can navigate this path in my sleep musically speaking.
Yet the biggest epiphany that hit me was this: I was being asked to apply those very same musical principles while loving my Mexican! As music requires adjustments of outdated beliefs, sounds, ways of being in order to allow the magic to find you. And here I thought it was just new music my ears were listening to. Music is never just music. In it you will find unvoiced desires, beliefs, dreams and fears. So next time when someone you care for shares music…pay attention!