Last night I was doing some paperwork and half-listening to “The Voice” on TV. I was suddenly alert when Blake started discussing the merits of gaining a team member who pushed at the boundaries of what would traditionally be called “country music.” He talked about the importance of fresh ideas and new sounds within a community of musicians that is considered, by some, to be a “club” of sorts. The talented young singer who stimulated this conversation among the judges was able to use her voice in such a variety of ways that none of them was sure where she belonged. I thought that perhaps she didn’t know quite where she wanted to fit yet. Blake said it gave him hope for the future of music to have such a talented, unique singer among them. That’s very high praise when you consider such a vast musical tradition preceding her performance.
What does it take for one’s ideas to be considered new or fresh? What nerves are struck to make us perk up and say “Whoa! That’s new!” Where does the feeling that we need to say something new come from? Or, can we relieve some of the pressure to create fresh ideas just by acknowledging that every human being is unique? Perhaps you sense my anxiety about this as a musician and a writer–I often find myself asking, “Do I have something worthwhile to say?” Away from the keyboard, I worry that I don’t, but when I actually begin to play or write, another voice rises in me and all that matters is the act of expression. Whether it is judged “worthy” is immaterial (well, mostly). Using my voice is enough, for now.