5th May 2010 - Inspiration
My intention when I started writing and recording this new album was to try to be entirely true to myself and to trust that if I was honest in what I was creating it would resonate with people regardless of whether or not it was commercial or accessible or fit into a particular musical box. I was very inspired by a singer songwriter friend of mine Chloe March who spent a couple of years writing and producing an absolutely beautiful album, ‘Divining’, which came out last year. It was fresh and original and uncompromising (go to her site and have a listen and you'll see what I mean.) I’m lucky that I’ve always been in a position to be pretty independent with what I do and how I do it but somehow the original ideas I had in my head rarely made it onto CD undiluted. I would either be second-guessing myself or being too influenced by other people’s expectations. I guess every artist wants to be true to themselves and create something unique and often it can be a good thing when a song goes off in an unexpected direction as it can end up becoming something better than you intended but too often I’ve found myself making the wrong kind of compromises. Not this time, I said. Yet here I am a few months down the line and I’ve begun playing it safe and getting sidetracked speculating about how the end result will be perceived. Does anyone else do this? I’ve heard writers say that the worst thing you can do is to try to edit as you write - it just kills the creative process. So, with all that in mind I’ve taken a step back and have been re-evaluating what I’ve done and looking for ways to make it better and a genuine reflection of what I want to say. I’ve been reminding myself of how the pros do it by listening to some of the albums that inspired me to sing and write in the first place - Joni Mitchell ‘Hissing of Summer Lawns‘, Sarah McLachlan ‘Fumbling Towards Ecstacy’ and Rickie Lee Jones ’Pirates’. It’s been a great way to reconnect and get the creative juices flowing again. They’re such inspirational albums. I remember my dad telling me about the first time he heard Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ and having to pull the car off the road and just sit and listen because he’d never heard anything like it before. These albums, in different ways and at different times, have had the same effect on me. If I could emulate even a fraction of their genius I’d be very happy. Any anyway didn’t Aaron Sorkin write in the West Wing (one of the best shows ever shown on tv) that good writers borrow from the best but great writers steal?!