I include this performance of Sophie B. Hawkins’ SweetSexyWoman here not for the performance itself so much as for something she says during the adlib.
I better not get on this piano. This is a brand new piano and it’s just been tuned so I’ll just stay right here. ‘Cause I don’t wanna be sued or something even worse – I don’t want to be criticized.
I’m sure Sophie is being more than a little tongue-in-cheek here, but who hasn’t at least once stumbled at a creative challenge thinking “What will they think of me if I do this?”
Sophie is a great example too. Many of her creative decisions have been criticised over the years. The original video to her biggest hit Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover was deemed too provocative and banned. When she decided to write a song to be played on a banjo – the instrument being a gift given to the singer-songwriter – her record company decided the banjo should be replaced by guitars. This tension ultimately saw her part ways with Sony Music/Columbia Records and saw her re-release the album independently.
Infact she literally woke up the day after being fired as a percussionist for Bryan Ferry and wrote that song Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover. She admitted that when she shared the song Big Beautiful Bottom In My Face (only released as a B-side) with the person it was inspired by they were less than thrilled.
I really think creative expression is all about taking risks, doing things in ways they aren’t normally done and posing questions that no one is prepared to ask. Just think, whenever you are worried you might be criticised realise you might also be on the verge of creating something powerful.