Philadelphia favorite son and Grammy Award-winner Questlove has published “Creative Quest,” a collection of inspirational stories and lessons about living one’s best creative life. In this spirit, Speak Easy has asked Philadelphia artists to share stories of their own creative quests.
In my journey as an artist, creativity has been ambiguous and constantly evolving. My primary artistic expression is as a musician, but my creativity manifests in various media depending on where I am mentally, physically, or spiritually in time.
The genesis of my creative journey was around the age of 4 with piano lessons. It surrounds my life’s work. I am a public school music teacher, a liturgical organist and choir director, a pianist and composer — and more recently, a real estate investor. I have been able to extend my creativity to my passions and hobbies of design, cooking, and photography as well.
My work both requires and generates creative energy, not just in a musical sense, but also in a spiritual and visual sense. By “spiritual,” I don’t mean religious, but rather the ability to connect with something deep within with my core, to make sound emotional, and to evoke these sensations in listeners and participants.
Frequently I ask myself, “Am I bringing life to the music I make and people I teach? Am I inspiring the congregations I encounter weekly? Am I being true to and allowing my own creativity to flourish when I play or compose music?”
To me, the inspiration of composing music largely draws from my emotions, whether they are joy, peace, sorrow, or heartache.
As an artist, I must be present in the moment. It is in this presence and silence that we all are able to communicate with our most intimate selves, or what some call the soul. No matter what your method of soulful connection — meditation, vigorous exercise, reading inspirational quotations, creating art, or cooking — an artist needs to nurture the creative spirit. This takes time and dedication.
I have released two albums over the last decade, and I am fortunate to have had inspirational performance opportunities. However, in more recent years, among changing career aspirations, international wanderings, and new business ventures, I have put composition lower on my priority list. Does this feed my soul less? Maybe.
One could argue I’m I not serving myself by spending less time fostering my innate musical talents. However, my creativity shows itself in several diverse avenues. I have learned to creatively collaborate towards successful business outcomes. I have redesigned and flipped homes, experienced unforgettable travel adventures, and put love and imagination into the dishes I serve at dinner parties I have hosted. All of these things are expressions of my creative journey. All of these things nourish my creative core.
Adam P. Haines is founder of Mobile Music LLC.