Bobby Previte is a jazz drummer with a difference. He’s not cool and laid back, but a boundless ball of creative, brilliant energy.
Since he started his career in 1985, he’s published close to 50 albums and played on or partnered on about 100 others. I downloaded twelve(!) of them this week and am listening to one as I write this.
Bobby is a drummer, musician and composer with prodigious talent, endless imagination, fearlessness, and energy to burn. You can hear it in every single moment of his amazingly energetic and unconventional music.
Bobby made me think, “What does it take to generate this kind of creative energy? Is it something you’re just born with or can you grow and nurture it?”
A sense of his approach comes from the album notes to a soundtrack he wrote:
“So I kind of barricaded myself inside my studio at the time, working exclusively between midnight and 6 a.m. for three weeks straight. The only window opened out to an airshaft. My neighbor was a woman who, with a certain fearful respect, we called the “Voodoo Lady.” From time to time she would stick her head into the shaft and at the top of her lungs let rip a bloodcurdling scream. Too bad I didn’t have a sampler back then.”
No, Bobby Previte is not what you’d called a ‘conventional’ musician. As you can see from the story above, he throws himself headlong into a project and embraces whatever shows up.
Now, you may not be a creative artist like Bobby Previte, but, as an independent professional, you are very much on your own, free to create the kind of business and lifestyle you want.
So, inspired by Bobby, here are some of my musings about creating the conditions for expanding your creative energy and multiplying your creative output.
Throw out the rulebook
Who wrote the rulebook anyway? Somebody who wanted to keep things in control. “Don’t talk to strangers. Write short copy. Avoid using slang.” Really? Instead, ask, “What will break through and get attention?” and be willing to bend a few rules to get it.
Challenge boring conventions
My favorite marketing saying is by the great adman, David Ogilvy: “You can’t bore someone into doing business with you.” And if you look and sound like everyone else, you’ll just blend into all the other boring look-alikes out there.
Seek out challenging creative partners
As independent professionals, our biggest weakness is doing everything alone. Big mistake. I recommend you find some like-minded independents who are open to masterminding, brainstorming and collaborating. Look, I don’t even write this weekly article without the help of an editor.
Try new and different things
We are creatures of habit, which is great for maintaining a daily momentum. But stagnation, boredom, and burnout are often close behind. Do something crazy this week – like listening to a Bobby Previte album! Check out “Too Close to the Pole.” It’s like a bracing plunge into turbulent Arctic waters.
Go the whole hog
This means don’t hold back, even a little bit. You’ve come this far on a project (such as developing a new program), now pull out all the stops and go for broke. Do an all-nighter, if need be, until it’s done. Fine-tune that sucker so it shines like a diamond.
Strike when the iron is hot
We can’t control when we feel inspired. But when something turns you on, grab that energy and run with it. If you wait for ‘the right time,’ your energy and inspiration may have dissipated. Seize the day!
Hope you caught on to my theme today. To generate creative energy you need to boldly step outside of your normal patterns of thinking, feeling, and action. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Bobby Previte’s life purpose is to inspire his listeners to do exactly that.