Posts Tagged ‘music to write by’

Janis Ian in 1969, and today. Did this woman really ever believe she was an “ugly duckling”? Surely not. And she is surely a beautiful soul, and one who effortlessly combined skill as a writer with genius as a composer. Respect.

… and I dial up one of those on demand radio station things to get some background music that helps the creative juices to flow, when suddenly Janis Ian comes on singing In the Winter.

Well, that was the end of productive work for a while, as it prompted a quick rush round the outer reaches of YouTube to remind myself of this exquisitely personal woman’s haunting music and lyrics.

Do yourselves a favour, and watch this interview and live un-plugged performance, including an hilarious little ditty she wrote about the release of her autobiography, which, as it happens, was very successful.

I reckon it’s the best 15 minutes you’ll give yourself this week. And if you can’t spend 15 minutes, just fast forward to her performance of At Seventeen at the end. If it’s possible, it’s even more heart rending now, as she settles so comfortably and productively into late middle age, than it was when she originally wrote it at 24 years old.

The pain, the humanity, the empathy, the understanding of the human condition. It leaves one breathless.

Remember, this was a woman who received death threats at 16 for writing and releasing a song in favour of inter-racial marriage. As poet Roger McGough once said “Words? Why, she could almost make them talk.”

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