Early on when I was a kid in search of the next great song and or musical artist, I figured out that a majority of the information and learning needed was quite often hidden in the liner notes of the albums I purchased. And it was this revelation and moment of learning that introduced me to enjoy reading for the first time in my life, and completely changed how I would now make the decisions related to the albums of musical artists in which I would now search to learn more about.
This unplanned education and changed way of making musical purchases also inadvertently opened me up to learning about world history. In taking the time to read why and or who it was that these artists or musical acts considered to be the influencers or foundation of their self-creation, I suddenly found myself immersed with an unforeseen path or book of instruction to global race relations, world history, and the associated politics that most certainly helped to first start the musical conversation now being had in this song.
This unexpected need to know suddenly took me around the world to new and different places, in a way that classrooms were unable to do in my life. It not only gave me an appreciation for learning about the development of human culture, but it did so in a language I understood that helped shape the beginning of what would become my thinking related to world issues and my concerns about varied types, levels, or areas of injustice. And in retrospect, regardless of the geographical location of where the story or artist was based or called home, it was the consistency and similarity of the story being told, which unknowingly put forth my life path around the importance of another person’s integrity, and the personal character in which I believed they claim to carry themselves.
In many ways, it even helped me better understand and find my place in the public argument appreciation and personal belief that my momma Nancy-Lou Patterson tried to display in her steadfast credence about the importance of equality within world cultures, in that forever long list of issues of race relations and the independence for freethinking and the must-have liberal acceptance within the worlds various religions.
This unconventional path to buying albums not only gave me a greater understanding around the appreciation for music overall, but the music I found myself now listening to was no longer straight-ahead blues, but a straight to the vein addiction disguised as a need to know that would eventually morph into genres of Rock, Jazz, Soul, Country, various styles of Funk, Disco and even Gospel. And just like that, I’d created my love for learning, and this never-ending or slowing need to know.
I’ve often wondered when listening to music if others musicians, artists or listeners ever experience this same instantaneous feeling of being at peace that’s almost reminiscent of daydream, suddenly being able to see and feel the music as it runs throughout my entire body, which for me is always sure to be right in step with the introduction of some new and cool style of music I didn’t know about before this.
It’s as if I’m immediately filled by a workable feeling of emotion that now suddenly becomes part of my inner soul, while it flows comfortably throughout, in the reaction of the intensity of your listening at that moment. Or quite possibly, it’s just me, and I could be completely wrong in my portrayal or understanding of this individual experience for others. And it’s only myself that experiences this transformational moment of learning, which leaves me with improved self-confidence, and the feeling of this renewal in my superpowers.
Nevertheless, I’ve always at times found it to some degree frustrating to know the number of cool musicians or artists, who haven’t cared to look past a particular artist or song or music in which they’re listening to at that moment of wow. For whatever the reasons might be, they don’t see the significance of discovery in the actual musical journey which most likely took place in the creation of that melody or lyrical content which has now changed their lives forever.
I’ve always felt that learning the importance of other musical influences, is best understood as a secret weapon of sorts. For me, this new way of learning allowed me to hear the music differently, and see how any number of amazing albums introduced to the world, completely changed the direction or shaped the sound of so many great artists and or albums, in some cases they would eventually deliver.
I say with great humility, that when I sometimes listen to the music or read some of what it is I’ve written, the various storylines, or the personal life quotes that I openly share. All of which come pretty easy and are written about the various matters that hold interest or importance to me in my life. It’s in those moments that I’m quick to remember or remind myself just how nice it is to have created something that people respond to positively.
I’ve learned to never forget how their reaction has made me feel, and what I owe to myself as a creative artist to live deep within the reminder of that feeling, and how I need to make sure that it finds its rightful place in my heart. It’s important for me to always remember that that very same space which now inspires my thinking, was once filled with this ever powerful and consuming fear of not knowing.
Because the brilliant world of Music and Visual Arts is so incredibly diverse in its culture and powered by this mixture of human emotion and is infused by an unsegregated variety of ways to communicate, such as dance, literature, music, photography, sculpting, painting and even film. Most people don’t fully understand the amount of effort put forth to develop or design these various imaginative platforms that come to life, inspire thinking, and if lucky appeal to our human senses, and provoke the positive reaction by those on the receiving end.
My momma was a Fine Arts professor with an open mind and a vast interest in the human condition and world culture overall. Her need to know was powerful, the importance she put behind credibility was even greater, and the depth of her wisdom was equal to the most brilliant sun. She loved the very things that made people and or places special, and lived with a keen interest and need to know what inspired their thinking.
She told me how the experience of working alongside her mother, who by chance was also an established artist and instructor in her own career. How this guidance and early life experience helped mature my momma’s skills and further develop what would become her renowned ability as an artist and scholar in her genius to communicate the significance of her intended message.
My Momma once told me that life was about knowing and not knowing. And how there were only three ways to communicate the importance of those essential elements in the description of the art.
She said first there’s the creator or artist, the artist who expresses imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skills that brings their idea and or vision to life, which is then presented as a piece or body of their work. It is an extension of them, it is who they are, and it’s deeply personal.
And secondly, she said there is the teacher who inspires or explains through some level auditory or visual instruction, about the history of the work itself, and explains its style, while sharing its secrets, and the significance or place it now holds within the genera or medium in that it compares or finds its acceptance within.
And she said lastly, that there’s the reviewer who speaks or writes of its importance to the listeners or readers, along with the consumer who then excitedly tells all their friends about its comparable excellence to anything that has come before or might possibly someday follow.
She explained how all three are equally significant to the creation, importance, promotion, or continued growth of the world arts community. I loved and lived for any opportunity to speak with my momma and or sit and listen to her explain the significance of something she felt I needed to know. Her explanation of significance was Godly in its design, and her delivery never spared or withheld the very things which inspired her thinking.
“Life is about Knowing and Not Knowing Jordan, and you need to know which one you are. Are you the Artist Creator, the Teacher, and or the Reviewer Consumer?” She said “most people are only one, but some of us, as in you and I, we're all three.” - Nancy-Lou Patterson
- Jordan Patterson