One of my guilty pleasures is watching NBC’s singing contest “The Voice,” now on its seventh season. The Voice struck gold with Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and country man’s man Blake Shelton. Their on-screen chemistry is like a couple of brothers who would say or do anything for a good prank. The horseplay can grate, especially when Levine goes on one of his obnoxious streaks (and I do realize that he’s hamming it up for the cameras) but that’s what the other two judges are for. They’ve cycled through Xtina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Shakira and Usher. None of them have brought the near-perfect chemistry of this season’s “in-betweeners” Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams.
This television of Stefani is impossibly friendly and radiant. It could be that she’s really excited to be on the show, but there’s a genuineness that seems to radiate from her. Pharrell comes across as a cool, smooth lyrical philosopher. Whereas Green and Usher seemed disinterested at times, the things Pharrell has been saying and how he’s been saying them have been a revelation. I’m not even a big fan of his music (or his entire genre in general) but I’m interested in seeing how his team does.
He even put this line out there in the fourth show, which caused me to write it down to share here:
“I felt someone who was singing for their life, with their life.”
I don’t know if this is the kind of thing he says on a daily basis, or how often he says it, but I found it to be the kind of insight that I would want from a mentor. (The contestant, Toia Jones, did pick Williams to be her coach.)
“I read someone who was writing for their life, with their life.”
Writers are told that their unique perspective is what makes their work special. A person’s perspective is built from life experience. Each moment of our life, from the poignant to the significant, build up into our world view. From the time we decide that we want to be writers, we are literally writing for our life, with our life. It’s a bit different from performing artists, who spend their lives on stage in front of an audience. It’s no less nerve-wracking though for a person to write from their innermost being, then put it out there for the world to criticize.
So to all of you who put your work out there, opening a window to your soul for the world to peer into it, cheers. In today’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter-fuelled world where all sorts of ridiculous things are said and posted online, writing for your life, with your life is special.