Billy Joel, the iconic voice behind "Piano Man," is making a notable return to music composition after a 17-year break, revealing the intricate and often challenging aspects of his creative process. The celebrated singer-songwriter, now 74, has opened up about the personal hurdles and the unexpected inspiration that led him to rediscover his passion for music.
In a candid discussion on the Audacy Check-In podcast, Joel shared insights into his self-critical approach to songwriting. His rigorous standards often led to a cycle of self-doubt and frustration, contributing to his lengthy hiatus.
"I have this high bar that I set for myself. If I don't reach that bar, I beat myself up, and I hate myself," Joel confessed. This relentless self-scrutiny ultimately led him to step away from writing new music, as the joy that once fueled his creativity seemed to fade.
Rekindled Creative Spark
However, Joel's perspective shifted dramatically after a chance encounter with songwriter Freddy Wexler, facilitated by his family physician. This meeting reignited Joel's enthusiasm for music-making, a process he initially found to be fun and exhilarating.
Wexler's influence, marked by an innovative approach to melody and chord progression, struck a chord with Joel, inspiring the title of their collaborative single, "Turn the Lights Back On." Joel's newfound inspiration is palpable in his description of the creative process for the new track.
The melody and lyrics resonated deeply with him, reflecting thoughts and words he had often contemplated. "This particular lyric in this song, I’ve had these thoughts, I could have written these lyrics verbatim," he stated, emphasizing the natural and instinctive flow of the songwriting process.
This revelation marks a significant moment in Joel's illustrious career, symbolizing a return to the intrinsic pleasures of music-making that first propelled him into the spotlight. His journey underscores the complexity and emotional depth of the creative process, revealing a more vulnerable side of the acclaimed musician.
Fans and music enthusiasts alike can now anticipate a revitalized Billy Joel, whose renewed passion promises a compelling addition to his already distinguished repertoire.