Hearing the news that David Bowie had died last week was a shock to me, as it was to many millions across the world.
As soon as I heard the news I was compelled to listen to Under Pressure, his exceptional collaboration with Freddie Mercury (one of my all time favourite songs). I’m not a die-hard fan of Bowie's music but I'm a HUGE fan of his incredible passion and capacity to live such a creative life - right up to his final music video, Lazarus. So haunting and poignant, depicting Bowie's exit through a wardrobe. Reinforcing the idea that Bowie was from another planet; he's not dead, he's just gone back to wherever he came from.
Close to home
David Bowie grew up in Brixton, London only a few miles from my flat. Maybe because it was so local and close to home that it got me thinking - what was it that Bowie had inside him to be able to express himself so fully, no exceptions, no compromise and with no apology?
Not many people have influenced the worlds of music, art, film, design and fashion like him. He was truly one of a kind and the endorsement, confidence and inspiration he gave to people in the gay and transgender community has also had immeasurable effect.
Equally, Bowie was stimulated by the world – absorbing all it had to offer; the people, the scenes, the relationships and of course the drugs, he’d then turn everything on its head and create something only Bowie could.
Ch ch changing creative vision
His creative process was ever changing much like his styles and innovative performances. He was always current and never followed the crowd. There are so many lessons on creativity that we can take from the Starman but here are just six handily summed up by his song titles
1. Rebel, rebel. Bowie wasn’t worried if other people liked his music, hair styles or spangley outfits so neither should you. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Your project, your rules!
2. Heroes. Most superheroes have to brave it alone to save the world. For the love of mankind’s creative spirit - be your own hero. You're not always going to have support from other people so just go for it. Why not try it for just one day – at least.
3. Changes. Don’t be scared of change or failure. Some of the best creative results happen from accidents and the fear of the unknown. Deliberately switch things up – you might be pleasantly surprised by the consequences.
4. Let’s dance. Bowie knew the value of collaborations and worked with some absolute legends! Freddie Mercury, Brian Eno, John Lennon, Iggy Pop, and Trent Reznor are just a few. Bowie knew that having your own creative voice is essential but recognising the value and talent of someone else can take you into new and exciting creative worlds. Who do you admire and want to metaphorically jam with?
5. Fashion. It’s a big old world out there. Open your eyes wider than ever before. Get curious, fixated and fascinated like Bowie did with our world and all it has to offer. Take your influence from the universe and all it's changes but here is the thing - take it and reinvent it in your own way.
6. Life on Mars. Bowie knew how to make an entrance. Be different, be new, be fresh. Give the world something they've never seen before. In the words of Oscar Wilde ‘Be yourself; because everyone else is already taken’, something Bowie didn’t need reminding of I am sure– but sometimes us mere humans do.