In the past couple of weeks, I’ve struggled to find inspiration and drive and it’s left me feeling quite vulnerable and inadequate. So I turned to music to help get me in a headspace of creativity and renewed inspiration. People have different ways of seeking creative inspiration. My usual culprits are podcasts, Ted Talks, magazines, and of course music. In this particular season, I found that listening to music made by artists that have gone through similar experiences helped.
A friend once said, if you’re a writer, you’re cursed to always read as a writer. This statement holds true to other forms of art as well. As I grow as a creative, my consumption of art has evolved and that includes a nascent desire to understand the story and soul behind the music I listen to and be inspired by it.
Some of the greatest artists have channeled their insecurities, challenges, and despondency into their art. Hence their music becomes an instrument of not just entertainment, but of healing and inspiration. This kind of music is not ubiquitous so when I find it, I hold on and make the most out of it.
Musical tastes vary. The acceptance of a song, or type of music as either bad, good or great, is to an extent, subjective. But it can’t be denied that there is a common consensus on the positive effects good music has on the creative process.
I’ve put together quite an eclectic playlist with a mix of some of the music that continues to inspire me in this season.
I’ve also made a short list of artists that you could look to for different kinds of inspiration. If you’re in a creative rut, perhaps these artists and music could give you the jolt you need and get your creative juices flowing.
Fearlessness – Kanye
Whether you find Kanye’s outspoken and intrepid demeanor amusing or not, his music and creative process mirror a fearless approach that every artist could use at some point. His most recent album Ye, speaks so much to his process. Listening to his music could inspire you to stop being so afraid to create or share your work.
Defiance – Fela Kuti, Childish Gambino
Fela Kuti was the OG tortured artist. His music has influenced and awed some of the greatest artists from Paul McCartney to Prince and many more. Fela Kuti never held back. He used his music to address social and political issues and his (very colorful) love life.
If Childish Gambino’s “This is America” doesn’t make you feel defiant, I don’t know what will.
Melancholy – James Bay
Maybe the depressing “spring” weather is getting to you. James Bay’s style of music makes you embrace your melancholy in an inward-outward momentum that somehow forces you to get rid of the gloom and get-on-creating.
Creative Doubt- Eminem
From the classic song 8-mile to his more recent “Walk on Water”, Eminem who is arguably one of the greatest lyricists of our time has always been open about his self-doubt.
Getting in the Zone – James Blake
James Blake’s ambient style of music can transform you into a feel-good headspace that narrows your focus while being in tune with your creative environment.
Listen to the playlist below