Someone once asked me why people sing. I answered that they sing for many of the same reasons the birds sing. They sing for a mate, to claim their territory, or simply to give voice to the delight of being alive in the midst of a beautiful day. Perhaps more than the birds do, humans hold a grudge. They sing to complain of how grievously they have been wronged, and how to avoid it in the future. They sing to help themselves execute a job of work. They sing so the subsequent generations won't forget what the current generation endured, or dreamed, or delighted in.
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The elements of voice and style are braided together like twine, consisting of these attempts to copy other artists, or an instrument, or even the sound of a bird or passing train. Added to these characteristics are emotions and thoughts that register as various vocal quirks, like hiccups, sighs, growls, warbles-a practically limitless assortment of choices. Most of these choices are made at the speed of sound on a subconscious level, or one would be completely overwhelmed by the task.
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We wanted to sing about the passions of mature women: love and concern for our children, love between trusted and treasured friends, the precariousness of romantic love, the difference between the love you give to the living and the love you give to the dead, the bitterness of a lost love remembered, and the long, steady love you keep for good.
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The dream world of sleep and the dream world of music are not far apart. I often catch glimpses of one as I pass through a door to the other, like encountering a neighbor in the hallway going into the apartment next to one's own. In the recording studio, I would often lie down to nap and wake up with harmony parts fully formed in my mind, ready to be recorded. I think of music as dreaming in sound.
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This is an election year, and I think we're in desperate trouble and it's time for people to speak up and not pipe down. It's a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I'd rather not know.
...I think it was a modest thing I did (Fahrenheit 9/11) ... this is an election year ... I'm not telling them how to vote. I'm saying get information about the issues ... at first there's just silence, then there's 'Yeah!' and then there's 'Boo' ... I have never seen a reaction like this, in all my years of touring ... Clear Channel can't threaten to not play my records because they are not going to play them anyway ...
I don't record (any type of genre of music) that I didn't hear in my family's living room by the time I was 10. It just is my rule that I don't break because ... I can't do it authentically ... I really think that you're just hard-wiring (synapses) in your brain up until the age of maybe 12 or 10, and there are certain things you can't learn in an authentic way after that.
I get on the airplane and there's a screen in front of everything. You get into a taxicab in New York, there's a screen blinking at you. I think it's going to have a tremendous effect on our brains, because those bright, saturated colors and those strong lines, they do things to your brain.
People don't realize that by voting Republican, they voted against themselves....I worry that some people are entertained by the idea of this war. They don't know anything about the Iraqis, but they're angry and frustrated in their own lives. It's like Germany, before Hitler took over. The economy was bad and people felt kicked around. They looked for a scapegoat. Now we've got a new bunch of Hitlers.
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