Brian Eno was a brilliant conceptualist, a founding member of Roxy Music, and a self-described “non musician.” I recently heard his take on creativity and it spoke volumes to me.
“Beautiful things grow out of shit. Nobody ever believes that. Everyone thinks that Beethoven had his string quartets completely in his head – they somehow appeared there and formed in his head – and all he had to do was write them down and they would be manifest to the world. But what I think is so interesting, and would really be a lesson that everybody should learn, is that things come out of nothing. Things evolve out of nothing. You know, the tiniest seed in the right situation turns into the most beautiful forest. And then the most promising seed in the wrong situation turns into nothing. I think this would be important for people to understand, because it gives people a confidence in their own lives to know that’s how things work.
If you walk around with the idea that there are some people who are so gifted – they have these wonderful things in their head but you’re not one of them, you’re just sort of a normal person, you could never do anything like that – then you live a different kind of life. You could have another kind of life where you say, well, I know that things come from nothing very much, start from unpromising beginnings, and I’m an unpromising beginning, and I could start something.”
Taken from: Daniel Lanois & Brian Eno (Producers of U2’s The Joshua Tree & recent No Line On The Horizon) talking about creativity in “Here Is What Is”