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“I never like to say that I play an instrument. I play with instruments. I’m like a child with instruments.”

wrote that song? Then I’d hear Bruce Springsteen talk about Pete Seeger, oh my god, that’s the guy I know! I grew up with people in my house who connected their art to a movement and to a cause. I learned a lot from and through who and what my parents exposed me to.

I don’t think it’s cliché. I think it’s… It makes a lot of artists that you hear on the radio just, contextualized, sound like shit.

And from there came the people they turned me on to, from Paul Robeson to Michael Jackson, there are so many people that I appreciated as a kid and was encouraged to continue appreciating. What I liked in these people was their talent connected with their love of humanity.

That’s exactly it. They are because it’s about them. There’s nothing more than them. Artists I don’t like it’s because they don’t have that element of a greater…just a kind of servant…

One day, this phrase came into my head, art as social dialogue, but there’s something more…It’s the spiritual side of us…

Let’s play an association game. I’m going to say a track name and you tell me the first thing you think. These are going back through the years. First thing you think when I say Tao of Now.

It’s all these things. There’s something great to be had in having fun and dancing, or provoking an idea or a movement. When all those things connect in music, it’s really an awesome experience. You know those iconic figures like the Marleys, the Kutis, the Nina Simones, the Joni Mitchells, the Beatles, the later work of John Lennon, whoever chose to engage consciously with the power of the art form itself. Those people stand out for me. Even if it sounds or seems pretentious or cliché to love those people for those reasons.

I had just discovered and read the Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu. It was really influential. I read it around the same time I first started meditating. The Tao means the Way. Working on my first album, I really felt like I was beginning an exploration that was going to lead me to a better understanding of me, music, the times we were living in…And I’ll say this, the demo of that song is cooler than the version that came out.!

Exactly.

Profile for Burner Magazine

Burner Magazine: The MUSIC Issue  

On March 1, 2011, Burner Magazine is excited to unveil Burner 03: The Music Issue, with editorials and features of Yoko Ono, Saul Williams,...

Burner Magazine: The MUSIC Issue  

On March 1, 2011, Burner Magazine is excited to unveil Burner 03: The Music Issue, with editorials and features of Yoko Ono, Saul Williams,...

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