I think alot about music. My music, other people’s music. I am a student of the game. And what you realize about many great artists is that they are exceptionally great at one thing.
Take a look at Robert Johnson. He was an amazing talent—a guitar virtuoso, a hellified singer, and an incredibly terse and impactful songwriter. But his legend is as a guitarist. That is the thing he is most remembered for. Nobody could play like Johnson.
Ray Charles. The Genius. An innovative vocalist, a boundless musician (did you know that he played saxophone too?), and an unparalleled arranger. But what is his legacy? His voice. Ray developed the ability to put his whole heart into every note he sang. Nobody could sing like Ray.
What about Bob Dylan? The quintessential singer-songwriter. He invented the genre. Before Bob, you had songwriters and singers, and ne’re the twain shall meet. But Bob successfully combined the two. But you can’t really be the best at two things. So when the deal goes down, which is he? He’s a songwriter. That is the aspect of Bob’s artistry that endures. Nobody can write like Bob.
I think there’s something here. It seems like maybe in music and life, you can accomplish more if you focus on less. But it’s hard. It’s so much easier to just try to do a bunch of stuff. It lets us off the hook from having to choose something.
But then you wind up like everybody else who can kind of do everything and is known for nothing. Maybe if we figure out what that first anchor is, we can bloom from there.