A young person in Zanzibar asked me about making fashionable popular music, in the vein of many hip hop inspired artists from Africa and I told him I’m past the age of chasing that sort of attention. He seemed puzzled and wanted to know more. It’s a complex matter to explain, of course.
Artists like George Clinton might give the impression that it is alright to keep on plugging away at creating and presenting club music at an advanced age. Mr Clinton manages to pull it off, through dressing up theatrically and probably drafting in folks young enough to be his grandchildren to collaborate with him on recordings. I have great respect for him and his achievements, but we invest time and energy in our work for varying reasons.
The same youngster mentioned above, took some photos of me wearing some new clothes and there was no doubt that he saw me in a different light to the way I see myself. Perhaps this was due to the fact that he had only known me for a few days at that point in time.
In a series of photos taken near the end of my stay on the island, the people who took the snaps were probably more familiar with my spirit and they saw a different person to the one in the early pictures.
The key issue here is of course, that we should all be ourselves and accept where we are at, on our individual journeys. There was a time when it was exciting for me to play in bands and have the sorts of adventures that many would associate with the lives of touring musicians. At this stage in the game, I am still engaged with creating new work and discovering new things, but my terms of reference are different. Anyone who gets to reach a certain age will probably understand what I mean.