I’ve been thinking a lot about the creative process in music & its execution into something that people consume. Talking about creativity and writing songs is hard. I can’t sit here & pretend that I know the reason that anyone else makes music. There are probably a thousand different reasons different people have for writing songs. I only really know why I do it & what it means to me. But I am truly curious about other people.
The main reason I write is because I need to write. Something compels me to… creative energy or whatever. But second to the fulfillment of my need to write is my concern for whether or not people like my songs. Now, notice that I didn’t say I don’t care whether people like my songs or not. I do. I actually care a lot. It’s just second on my list. And I’ll add this… I think that any artist who says they don’t care whether or not people like their music is a liar. Either that, or they’re just trying to sound cool. They might not care if a certain individual person likes their music, but they want “people” in general to like it. If an artist didn’t want people to like their music, they wouldn’t put out records or play shows. This goes doubly for artists whose full-time gig is music. Their livelihood is directly tied to people liking their music, and them finding those people.
So that makes me wonder: Can an artist disregard the consumers of their art while creating it?
The answer is yes. But they shouldn’t. As an artist, I think it’s disrespectful to disregard the consumers of your music during the creation process. I’m willing to bet that a lot of people disagree with me on that, and that’s fine. I’m not saying artists should pander, and I’m not saying they should put on a hat & do a dance for everyone. I’m definitely not saying they should shovel out the same old shit over & over to please people (even though there’s good money in all of that)… I’m saying, as an artist, we have a duty to consider whether or not what we’re creating is interesting to the people who will be consuming it. No one wants to be bored. We all have a duty to make interesting art, lyrically AND musically. It’s going out into the world. We shouldn’t be putting boring art out into the world.
As a sidebar, I also think that all artists could stand to be a little less concerned with their own nuanced creative process and more concerned with the end result of what they’re doing. But that’s another thing. And nobody asked me.
I’d love to hear anyone else’s thoughts below. Writers, artists, listeners, whatever…