One of the greatest gifts music gives me is perspective – the chance to just step back and look at whatever I’m going through from a higher place. The blues captures that, soul captures that, a…

One of the greatest gifts music gives me is perspective – the chance to just step back and look at whatever I’m going through from a higher place. The blues captures that, soul captures that, any kind of bittersweet music really. That’s why I’ve always loved the blues – it’s sad but it’s happy about being sad. It’s celebrating sadness, or maybe more importantly celebrating the perspective music gives on sadness. So most of my inspiration comes from artists/groups that convey perspective – capture sadness and celebrate it well.


That’s sort of what soul is, too. If you think about humans as having an animal side and a more spiritual side. Our immediate emotion is something natural/animal like, but being able to celebrate that through song is something celestial. So all good music (to me) celebrates the soul - celebrates the human condition. Music is a celebration of humanity, particularly the soulful side of humanity. I like human sounding music, hence most of my inspiration comes from older music - before we managed to muffle a lot of the human parts of music. (not to sound like too much of a luddite) Dynamics, imperfect vocals, amp buzz, string noise, slight shifts in tempo only add layers of humanity that (again, for me) help music do what its supposed to.


"I kind of realized that I was a citizen of the world. I didnt focus on what they are doing over there, I started focusing more deeply on my self. Its kind of like if you have a well in your backyard to get your water from, and I have a well in my backyard to get my water from, we are both going to go to seperate wells to get our water, but if you know anything about wells you know that the deeper you go the source of water is the same, you know, and that is the unifying force. So instead of studying the world I studied myself, and knew that by studying myself, and reflecting that through my art, that people would see themselves in it, like 'thats me, thats some s*** that I identify with', because I realized that I am everyone, you know, its all in me."

- Saul Williams



I Told You

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Comment by Deidre Rodman Struck on October 14, 2013 at 4:17pm
I feel inspired reading this to check out more blues and soul! These videos are a great start. You can really feel the emotion, the human-ness, coming through the music.

I especially liked how you described music as perspective, as celebrating the human condition. When I turn on the radio these days it is true that often I don't feel a connection to the artist. Especially when the auto-tune is on, and it took 6 writers to come up with the lines "Ooh Baby". I think there is a place for all of that; it just doesn't move me in the way your examples do.

My favorite gigs are the ones when people tell me they felt something, that the music moved them. Maybe, even, that they were moved to tears. Music as a conduit for life-doesn't get much more real than that. Kudos on a thoughtful blog entry!

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