I have asked myself whether as you read and share with people if you are not taking on their ideas; if the originality of thought and ideas are not severely compromised by these interactions? I guess it is the same for song writers and other creative people as well. Access to other people's work is so easy with the internet which bombards us with videos, lyric etc and various technologies that allow unrestricted sampling and recreations. How does one ensure that others work is inspiration and not the template from which one develops his/her work? How does one create space to be or remain unique and their authentic self?
Today I listened to Pink's splendid rendition of her song Dear Mr. President and I thought well she is brave. But she probably has picked the right time to criticize the President since his ratings are at an all-time low and the War on Terror is not as popular among Americans. The Dixie Chicks on the other hand suffered from a serious case of bad timing .
Pink's Dear Mr. Presdient
But what really struck me most about Pink's performance is how remarkably similar the idea and message of Dear Mr. President is to Tanya Stephens' Turn The Other Cheek. I am not accusing Pink of copying Tanya but rather commenting on how technology now makes it really easy to do so, even when one is probably unaware that they are doing it.
Tanya Stephens: Turn The Other Cheek
We should have been so lucky when as children, my siblings and I used to write lyrics for songs from cassette recordings. Only we would find later on, that we had written completely different lyrics from the original: almost a brand new song to the same tune! The lyrics we penned and thought we heard, were often more reflective of our sensibilities, culture, outlook etc than the literal intent of original writer's.
Whatever the case may be with Dear Mr. President, I am encouraged that there are modern artists who are not afraid of doing socially conscious songs. It is good to see it aint all about booty, love lost, bling, whose bank account is bigger, who is the real gangster, player etc. I love this song and video. Go on Pink!