Do you feel that you write for any particular group of people?
I just have to say simply, no not a particular group. I know that a lot of people who are going through the same thing that I am going through or have gone through, will tune in on me and find me a good companion and I’m happy to be among them. Very happy. I think it would be very dangerous for me to think of myself as a public figure. It’s one of the reasons why I stay out of things a lot, because I don’t, as I said before, exist in that echo of myself. I don’t like to think of myself as defining a generation or as speaking for somebody. When, love, as a cultural phenomenon, came out, in many ways my work was used somehow to demonstrate it. On the contrary, I thought that we were on the edge of a very violent period, I still do. Psychic violence anyways, if not physical violence. That aspect of ‘defining a generation’ may very well be reflected in my songs because deep in myself I know that I’m the same as everyone and what I really want to do is tune in on my sameness, rather than on my differences.
An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Michael Harris. Duel, Winter 1969.