Everything is a Remix

There's a popular myth about artists sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike. In a flash, a song or poem comes to them, wholly original.

This couldn't be further from the truth. Most artists go to work each day incrementally making progress on their work. Brilliant art is almost always crafted after making something average or mediocre, then making it better. And it's always inspired by what came before.

Paul Simon, of Simon & Garfunkel, shares his process for writing "Bridge Over Troubled Water," one of Rolling Stone's 500 greatest songs of all time, in a 1970 interview (starting at the 6:08 mark):

In short, much of the song was directly inspired by other works ranging from Bach to gospel.

Soaking up broad influences to remix, therefore, is the precursor to creating great work.


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