“America has its own version of the blues. What I do is the European blues. That is, the soul music of that sensibility – White Soul.” Leonard Cohen 1975

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From Leonard Cohen: Cohen’s New Skin by Harvey Kubernik (Melody Maker:1 March 1975). Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. Photo by Guido Harari. Originally posted May 21, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I try to write good songs that move along” Leonard Cohen On Songwriting


Leonard Cohen: I try to write good songs that move along. I just take the subject matter for granted. It’s from my own visions. I would think that’s the way anybody writes a song.

Interviewer: But Cohen’s visions, full of mystical figures such as Joan of Arc and allusions to such things as Scientology and Zen [both of which he’s “plugged into” at one time or another] are not what most people in popular music write about.

Leonard Cohen: Hmm, yes, that’s true. But then, my music isn’t very popular, is it?

For Cohen, Grief Is Joy by Lynn Van Matre (Chicago Tribune: Nov 23, 1975). Thanks to Rike, who discovered and contributed the article from which this quote is taken.

“Each one of my songs is above me” Leonard Cohen on Songwriting

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When I write a song, and it becomes a finished work, to me it becomes an incredible achievement. Each one of my songs is above me. When I say above me, I mean almost as though it was better than me. With the books and the poems, it’s a different feeling. My God, to do a song is a total mental process.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen Talks To Roy Hollingworth by Roy Hollingworth (Melody Maker: Sept 5, 1970). Photo Credit: Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174. Thanks to Rike, who contributed this article.

“When an experience is embracing or total you don’t know who you are.” Leonard Cohen On Writing

In Beautiful Losers you wrote, ‘disarmed and empty, an instrument of grace.’ Can you make that condition happen?

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Those conditions arise spontaneously. Often they’re the result of writing. I have in a poem, ‘How sweet to be that wretch, forgotten by himself in the midst of his own testimony.’ When an experience is embracing or total you don’t know who you are. When you jump into a pool of really cold water, when you hit that water there’s no you.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Interview / Leonard Cohen By Alan Twigg. Essay Date: 1979, 1984, 1985. ABC Bookworld.

“I need to write a lot to avoid the opinion, the belief or the slogan, and to come up with the freshness that determines the living quality of a piece of work.” Leonard Cohen

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My own opinions are predictable; I can dredge them up in a conversation over a drink to keep the talk flowing. And I feel the same way about beliefs: My beliefs are predictable, and I find them kind of tiresome. So I need to write a lot to avoid the opinion, the belief or the slogan, and to come up with the freshness that determines the living quality of a piece of work.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

State of Grace by Doug Saunders. Globe and Mail: Sept 1, 2001. Accessed 09 June 2014 at Ten New Songs. Originally posted Jun 16, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric