I saw a movie yesterday about a tour of Leonard Cohen's in 1972. The movie shows clips of interviews, songs, etc that happened during the tour. What I want to talk about is his philosophy of performance.
He said that sometime, he was unable to get into the song. I think the word he used was 'inhabit'. Like living inside of the song. I know that feeling, where you are singing a song and it feel like it is coming out of the depths of your soul. It is wonderful occurrence when it happens, because as a singer, you feel that you are expressing the soul of the song itself. It was his goal to get there every time. I think that is truly an admirable goal and likely why he is as revered an artist as he is. But that is also a scary place. It is a place where you, personally, are open to the world for the seeing. Vulnerable.
And when you see his performances, you can palpate his vulnerability. Time after time. It is mesmerizing, beautiful, stately.
He also said that he would sing even if he were not popular, and really criticized being popular. He states that the first way you know something is bad art is if it is popular, so he questions he own value. But he also says he is not a good singer, he knows that. But he would sing even if... he would sing for himself.
I have a magazine here that is about Leonard's songwriting. I will read it today. I will come back to this article, I am sure, and write some more. I think this man is one to truly study.
If you are an artist, or have any interest in Leonard's music, I highly recommend you see the movie. It will stay with me for a long, long time.....