Seal on how to discover your creativity
A BIT ABOUT ME
My first experience of song writing was when I was 23. I wrote a song called Of Her And Changes. It was about a girl and was completely pretentious but that was the moment that turned me on to the catharsis of song writing – voicing my diary and getting that which is in, out.
OPEN YOUR MIND
There’s a Mexican saying that goes: ‘doing without doing’ and being creative is about tapping into the subconscious. I tend to write really well when I’m distracted – when I’m on trains, watching time flash by.
Motion contributes to being open. One of my passions is snowboarding because it’s one of the few things I do where I don’t hear music. In order to make good music sometimes it has to be absent. There has to be nothing.
BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
As a song writer, you have to try not to withhold information. When people get comfort and reassurance from your writing, it’s because you are being completely transparent. For my last album, I wrote some of my best lyrics but I wasn’t telling the story in a kind or responsible way so I started over. I told the same story in a way that was more open. That’s when clever metaphors come into play. Before I was being too literal and that’s not really my style.
I Can See Clearly Now, by Johnny Nash, has been the blueprint for lyrics I’ve written throughout my life, acknowledging that things are pretty sh*tty in the reality of everyday life, but with optimism and faith you can transcend those dark times.
Ending with the hope that ‘it’s going to be a bright, sun-shiney day’. That was the first song that really resonated with me. I was 11. It makes so much more sense now I’m older and look back retrospectively. Music was the saving grace.
– Don’t try and force inspiration. It’s impossible. Writer’s block disappears when you acknowledge it’s there.
+I write using various music apps. There’s a great one called Just Press Record. Technology these days helps you create on the go.
SEAL’S 5 WAYS TO ENHANCE CREATIVE THINKING
1) Embrace pain
David Bowie talked about taking things to a point where, if it feels uncomfortable and you’re unsure, then you’re being truly creative – by doing something you haven’t done before.
2) Welcome pressure
I work well when my back’s against a wall. When faced with a sink or swim situation – you swim.
3) Get healthy
When you exercise you oxygenate your brain.
I’ve dreamt whole songs in my sleep. I used to have a recorder near my bed.
5) Express yourself
I’m an avid photographer – it allows you to catch an expression or gesture that you’d otherwise miss.
‘When my idol, mentor and biggest contributor to me as a musician, Trevor Horn, told me my music resonates with him, now that was the ultimate accolade.’
Follow Seal @Seal