Is it true that originality is dead?
Or maybe we’ve just heard it so many times that we stop trying to find new and exciting things within ourselves. I’ve always been frustrated by the idea of originality being dead, not because it means that my ideas aren’t unique or creative, but because it gives us the excuse to conform. This concept makes artists, writers, and musicians censor their creativity, edit their instincts until they become conventional reproductions.
A few years ago I read an interview with Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne that has been on my mind ever since. I’m sure I’m not getting this right, but he basically said that his philosophy of creation is: There’s a lot of great music out there already, so I’m going to push my creativity to its limits, always trying new things. If I succeed, I’ve created something new and unique. And if my experimental projects fail, the world hasn’t lost anything, because there is already so much great music out there.
Wayne Coyne is definitely original, there’s no questions about that. He started out as a manager at KFC and is now a rockstar who performs around the world with extravagant lightshows and costumes. But I think his brilliance comes from his ability to cast his ego aside and say: Look, I don’t want to be a musician if that means writing the same songs over and over again, no matter how famous it makes me. I’m willing to risk my reputation and my future for the opportunity to create something fresh and exciting to contribute to the world.