As I got back to writing this morning, my mind was stuck on the idea of integrity. In most projects, there are a series mental questions that act as roadblocks until answered.
What does it mean to have artistic integrity? What does it mean to have integrity in writing? Is integrity in these areas the same as upholding the idea in the day-to-day?
The artists I most respect, the only ones I admire, do not compromise their principles and values. I think it starts there. Who they are today is who they are tomorrow. They often turn down opportunities to make more money, or to be in the spotlight because they understand it will compromise their character. There are no alternate motives to discover. Their voice doesn't change because the wind is blowing in a different direction. The changes they make are a result of growth, becoming more of themselves, not chasing the mainstream, or prestige, or position. Over time, it always shows. If you listen closely, intuition can feel the difference between what's genuine and what's an advertisement, and history can connect the dots as a way of verifying.
For me, artistic integrity means many things. It means making albums for the right reasons. It's not about attention or money, it's about the stories that won't let go of me. It's about giving the work to the world. It's about opening space for others to share their gifts with the world. It's about starting conversations that can lead to deep questions.
Regardless, aside from the unbreakables, maintaining artistic integrity is a daily challenge, a daily practice, as its often a gray area that can only be assessed though deep contemplation. I regularly struggle with trying to raise questions and describe the details without hurting anyone else, or putting tension on them.
Great art has a way of moving us without hurting us.