Growing up in high school I ran with the crowd that thought it was cool to listen to retro music. Artists like James Taylor, Janis Joplin, and Don McLean. Listening to this music takes me back to a time when I thought about life and all its possibilities. The poetic lyrics allowed my mind to dive in to search for the story they are telling between the lines.
I remember Mr. Phillips, teacher from my Gifted and Talented class from grade 7 – 12. He is one of the champions of my life. He was so inspirational. Learning and self-discovery “turned him on” and he gave that passion to us. Whether is was a movie, a book, a poem, a song lyric, he always challenged us to go deeper. “What else could it mean?” In a literal world full of rules, regulations, and black & white answers, that class helped my mind break free of the obvious answers in life.
Don McLean’s song Vincent is one that I played over and over again in high school. Something in the lyric always tugged on my heart. Not sure if back then I could relate to the song or if I simply felt empathetic to the artistic plight of Van Gogh. More recently I was listening to my Beatles station on pandora.com, and Vincent came on; and at 3:00 in the afternoon I cried. Not sure why, but I did… for four minutes I was Vincent. I was lost in his paintings, anxiety, and restlessness. Now those things I can relate too. Maybe it is because I can be idealistic and a dreamer and the fact that this world seems to tie down the wings of that bird in my heart gets me down. When you have a few minutes watch this video on youtube. The creator of the video timed a selection of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings to match Don McLean’s lyrics and visually tell his story.
Songwriting – how in just about three minutes the songwriter can capture the attention, emotion, and life of the listener. This is my goal… to move your heart, your feet, your mind, or your soul. What an honor and a scary privilege listeners give the songwriter!?