Behind the Scenes

“Wynton Marsalis is the new thing. Never heard the name ‘Wynton Marsalis’ in our house before the Masterclass, but since then she’s become his biggest fan, going to all of his concerts, playing his CDs all the time. It’s like this every time they do a new story.”

My sister-in-law describing my mother-in-law.

Makes sense to me.

My mother-in-law has a unique job that allows her to meet talented, creative people on a pretty regular basis. Not too long ago I had the opportunity to meet a musician with her and I had the same exact reaction. He may have been one of my favorite musicians before then, but gosh, since then I’ve been going to all of his nearby concerts that I can afford– there are a lot, playing his music on my Spotify playlist and Zoe pretty much hasn’t gotten to listen to anything else. Old McDonald? Nope. The Itsy Bitsy Spider? Forget it. This, right here, is where the real music is at, young Zo.

Somehow, know the person behind the music makes a difference.

Why? Because more than anything else in life we want to feel connected to other people. Heck, isn’t that the whole point of art? To convey a particular feeling or evoke a particular thought or question, but to do so not in a vacuum, but to an audience? Like speaking through a loudspeaker; reaching many simultaneously.

When we understand the story behind the art, appreciate the work and the passion that goes into it, it simply allows us to identify better with the art and the person creating it.

I’d been pretty wary of meeting my favorite musician because of the acute awareness that this works conversely too; if the artist turns out to be a jerk, we lost our ability to identify with him and this diminishes our enjoyment of the work. Once we find out that Peter Sellers was actually horrible to his family, his antics suddenly become not so funny. I hate watching celebrity interviews for that reason. Being unloving to other people always puts up a wall between us and them, leaving everyone feeling more alone.

Anyways, turns out this particular artist is actually a great guy and it thus multiplied by enjoyment of his music by a factor of A Lot. All we want is to know that we’re not alone.


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