Your Contribution: It Matters…

Somebody left a comment on a video of a song I wrote and performed. It read:

[…] your voice is so unique.

I wondered momentarily if that was a compliment or an insult. But in any eventuality it struck me as true, that in a very real sense – whether by accident or design – nobody sings exactly the same way I do.

You Mean The Whole To Me (Demo) by johnlacey

Vocal Stuff by johnlacey

Born To Lose You (Distorted Organ Version) by johnlacey

I went for a walk earlier and Rickie Lee Jones’ Matters came on my iPod.

Doesn’t matter if you’re fat
Wear a helmet or wear a hat
If you’re sorry or if you’re sure
Who you are is who you were
Who you were
Who you were… matters
It matters

There is much talk about about making ‘great’ art and, actually, making ‘great’ art is tough for a number of reasons – not least the anxiety a need to be ‘great’ can often produce. There’s often talk about finding an agent, getting published, signing a deal, finding an audience. These things are all perfectly wonderful in their own right. But what I would like you to do today is really understand that you are unique, that nobody else in the world would’ve created that thing you created in exactly the same way you did. And I think that makes it special and gives it a value we don’t often appreciate.

3 comments… add one
  • It’s hard to make great art because you can’t really know if it’s great. I mean, you can love it. You can feel great about it. But what makes it great? People assign that word to works of art that are meaningful to them. Sometimes we agree on it. More often, we don’t. That’s why I think it’s essential for anyone who considers themselves an artist to drop the word “great” from their vocabulary and focus on the “art” part.

  • On voices, I was listening to Tom Waits (did you know he and Ricki Lee used to date?) version of Ol’ 55 and thought about how the critics always said he didn’t quite have the voice to make megahits, like the Eagles did with Ol’ 55 and so many others with “prettier” voices did with songs he wrote. Rod Stewart singing “Downtown Train” cannot compare! Waits versions are so much, a million miles, better, and it’s because of the roughness. the emotion caught in the gritty growl just rings so much truer somehow.

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