I remember something Neil Young said on stage during his performance for Bill Grahams’ memorial. He said, and I paraphrase, “Sorry for all these sad songs, but… it’s who I am.” The crowd erupted with supportive enthusiasm.
That comment has stayed with me as I, too, lean toward sad songs. But it’s not the sadness that attracts me - it’s the passion; it’s the depth; it’s the real-ness of the music reflecting the world I live in. From an early age, my mother taught me to appreciate the melancholy and the beauty of music. She would explain the pain and suffering of the gypsies who sang in the style of cante jondo in flamenco; cante jondo meaning deep song.
When I perform, you can expect to hear many songs performed with a deeper delivery; slower, and sometimes translated into minor keys. In this way, I can connect with a part of me that is often difficult to describe in conversation. As a picture can paint a thousand words, a slow and thoughtful song can say more than the same song sung fast and without feeling.
I realize that many don’t appreciate a performance like this, but here’s the good thing: I am not performing for them. They don’t have to like it. I am performing for those who need to hear what I have to say, in the way that I say it. Too often, an insecure performer will try to please everyone, and play what the masses want: happy songs to make them feel better. This may feel like the right thing to do in the short term, but I don’t want a bunch of fans only liking me because I give them what they think they want. I want fans and friends to like me for who I am: a thoughtful person who has lived through pain as well as joy.