Leonard Cohen’s Advice For Young Songwriters

Leonard Cohen’s Advice For Young Songwriters | Society Of Rock Videos

via LeonardCohen/YouTube

He Admitted His “Addiction to Perfection”

Leonard Cohen was a literary genius. He was more than a singer-songwriter. He was also a poet and novelist even before he decided to pursue a career in music. One of those he influenced is fellow musician and writer Bob Dylan who described Cohen as “incredibly crafty.”

In 2013 at a private preview of his thirteenth studio album titled Popular Problems, he revealed to the audience at the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles that writing doesn’t always come easy: “If I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often. Being a songwriter is like being a nun: You’re married to a mystery. It’s not a particularly generous mystery, but other people have that experience with matrimony anyway.”

In a conversation with Grammy Museum executive director Bob Santelli, Cohen explained: “A lot of young writers ask me for advice – mistakenly, because my methods are obscure and not to be replicated. The only thing I can say is, a song will yield if you stick with it long enough. But long enough is way beyond any reasonable duration. Sometimes a song has to hang around for a decade or two before it finds its expression.”

Discussing the album’s material, he revealed that “Some of them came together with shockingly alarming speed” especially because “Usually, I take a long, long time – partly because of an addiction to perfection, partly just sheer laziness.”

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