The Creative Power of Wisdom

If you tuned into the 2024 Grammys, you will have seen that three of the most stirring performances were delivered by truly seasoned (and silvering) women.  Less about fashion, choreography, and sultry eye contact, these performances dug from a deeper well of experience and moved the audience at times to tears.

The Artists

Tracy Chapman made a rare appearance to sing her original ‘Fast Car’ in a duet with Luke Combs.  Tracy’s simple and sweet performance exposed her unique connection to the lyrics and her delivery now - 35 years after the song’s original release - added another layer to a story that recalls feelings and events from childhood.  Combs’ country interpretation is good, but Chapman showed us something stronger.

Annie Lennox, singing “Nothing Compares 2U” to honor the late Sinéad O’Connor, brought a characteristically primal depth to her performance making us acutely feel the pain of loss described in the song. All appropriate for an In Memorium segment.  Her righteous call-out in the end for a cease-fire and world peace effectively reminded us that every life lost in war is still somebody’s tragically painful loss.

And then there was the remarkable Joni Mitchell.  Her delivery of “Both Sides Now”, a song about how our perspectives change over time, was rendered more meaningful in her softer-voiced, wizened delivery now as a woman who has lived through 80 years. 

These three performances showed the power and depth that harnessing life experiences can bring to the artistic delivery of a song.

Valuable Balance

It was good to see the Grammy’s balancing out the new-and-now with the power that comes with longevity in the music industry.  There will always be new young artists who crush athletic performances, put on a show with a wiggle and wink, but not all will have the staying power and well-earned respect of these three.

There is value in showcasing multi-generational talent.  Not only does it give young artists a certain level to aspire to, it exposes a new audience to a different quality of work.

The Grammys 2024... another reminder that:

Wisdom. Is. Beautiful.

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