When I go on stage Im completely alone. Hundreds
of people are out there, waiting for me to sing, I have only my voice
to carry me. Ive had the experience of looking at the next song
on the sheet and thinking "Oh no, I dont feel the song in my
throat, I dont know if I can do this." I know Ive got
to do it so I trust and open my mouth. Sometimes my own conscious and
active "waiting" is rewarded by an incredible feeling. Its
as if an outside influence has entered me, sound is channelled through
my body like a flute and theres no sensation in my throat. I find
myself a listener to this really good rendition of the song, better than
anything I could possibly have rehearsed. It feels incredible and joyful,
and sharing that with people is a wonderful experience.
I wanted to encapsulate this experience in a phrase,
to reflect it back to the audience. I chose The Zen Kiss, not as a reference
to Zen as an orthodox belief, but as a sense of a beautiful force moving
effortlessly through me and leaving me through my lips, like a kiss. Ive
had this sensation when rehearsing by myself but I hadnt known that
other signers apparently have the same experience. Playing live has heightened
and intensified the experience for me.
Sometimes I have a similar feeling when writing.
Instead of it being hard work, a whole section of a song or lyric will
come at once. I go into a kind of dream state. Its very difficult
to describe but there seems to be no effort on my part. Its as if
a very calm voice in my head is giving instructions: "Go into the
chorus here," or "Use another note here", or I may just
get a feeling as to where to go next in the melody. It feels like tapping
into a collective unconscious, or even into the personality of a song
that actually exists before I write it. The song has been calling me rather
than being created by me.
Im very aware of the relationship between
the creative process and my ego. I can have a sense how I would like things
to be but it doesnt necessarily translate realistically. I think
that conscious intelligence is often inferior to this instinctive intelligence.
The process is not about constructing your work of art, its about
connecting to something higher and allowing it to weave levels of meaning
into your work for you to discover later.
My work has always been fuelled by an intensely
personal interest rather than by any kind of intellectual quest. By following
my voice I have