Authenticity, Invigoration and @kdlang

Say What? Not Focus On k.d.’s Voice? 

It may sound odd for me to ask you to stop focusing on k.d. lang’s voice. But this is what I am going to ask you to do for this blog post. The reason I am asking you to humor me on this is:  I want to argue that her voice is  spiritually invigorating but is  also one that can prevent our own authentic spiritual transformation if we are too linear in our perspective about it.  Like many artists, it takes some effort to truly “get” what is going on. I contend that this is true for k.d.; that how we “see” the relationship between k.d., her voice, and what I want to call  a “the vast openness of acceptance”  can shed light on the astounding aspects of being alive.

Love is Blind

What I am asking of you may not seem so strange when we recall the old adage “Love is blind”. We have all experienced it, no doubt, from both sides of the fence. My concern is  I fear many  listeners to k.d. suffer from this plight. They are so in love with her voice, a voice that is truly unbelievable, that they never can see beyond it. Now, I certainly do not want to seem sanctimonious in making this claim for I write this as someone who spent too much time in the “jaw dropping love overwhelm” over her voice. The pitch, tone, emotion, phrasing and on and on.

But luckily for me, not too long after I first heard her, I realized that k.d.was truly an authentic artist.

An Authentic Artist

When I say that k.d. is an authentic artist, I am not talking about arbitrary claims to legitimacy such as musical education or experience or seniority, or awards won  or any other socio-political yard-stick we may use to give k.d. her kudos. I am talking about the ability of her artistry to make profound spiritual changes in our lives. In fact, I almost want to make the more normative claim that we “should” see beyond the ear-candy to the more substantive philosophical issues k.d. bridges for us. But that may be too much…even for me who sees in k.d. the chance to make serious spiritual headway in this life.

Beyond the “Voice of an Angel”

For the past year or so, I have been following k.d. on Twitter. I feel I have a fairly good sense of what the typical “fan” tends to say to her, and what they are, and are not, able to articulate. What I have noticed is a kind of “literalism” if you will. People tend to focus on one song they like (usually “Hallelujah”, or “Calling all Angels, or “Crying”) and tell k.d. how much they “love” that song. What I do not see are deeper explanations about why. No one seems to ask “But why is this or that song so moving, or so beautiful?” And this is the omission that I fear, prevents many from seeing what we really have in k.d.’s art. Mind you, I am not talking about k.d. the person in real life necessarily; merely the artist. There is a difference. Like most “authentic artists”, the art produced transcends the actual real-life person. I am going to stipulate that this is probably true for k.d.

The Vast Openness of Acceptance

There are “reasons” why the way k.d. can sing makes us take an auditory double take. I think the main one is because her voice is rooted in a deep spiritual understanding of authenticity and a lack of need for outside affirmation. When we listen to her, we are taken to this place. And if one is willing to “get over” the voice, and pay attention to the place you end up while listening, I think there is a great chance for spiritual progress. Let me give you some examples of what I am talking about.

  • When k.d. sings your favorite song of hers, do you notice that something has changed in you? even for a second? that there is a sense of shedding some of the bullshit of our lives. Things like self-obsession, or arrogance, or petty anger. There is no place for these things while you are listening and taken to the “Vast Openness of Acceptance”.
  • Do you notice that in the beauty of her voice is a place that you can go to anytime, no matter who you are? That it does not matter what religion you may be, or where you come from, or whether you are “trained” the right way. Her voice accepts anyone and takes them to this place, this “peek” at the things that seem to carry more meaningful weight.
  • Do you feel inspired to do things that focus less on yourself, and more on others? I am going to bet you do. After hearing “Crying”, the impulse is probably not go on a shopping spree for window dressings. But rather to feel empathy for all of those stuck in unrequited love.
  • Are you amazed at the beauty that is possible? I argue that this amazement you feel is not about k.d. so much, but the spiritual  situation of being human.

Lastly, I want to point out that all of us experience k.d.’s art in our own way and yet we still are taken to this same state of spiritual “Eurekas”. The critical lesson about this fact is we each “get there”. I think that we need to spend more time thinking about this state where we end up after listening to k.d., and less time being amazed at her voice per se. This is the opportunity for  authenticity that we can miss if we are not careful.

6 Comments

  1. I like this short interview (as well as others where k.d. talks about her voice and music): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrHMgMCm0_E&list=PL836559A50207BCB2&index=37

    …where, at about 1:38, k.d. mentions that she started singing at about the age of 5 and then goes on to talk about how inseparable life itself is from her voice – how everything is intrinsically linked to to her voice (including her spirituality). It comes as a package deal, together, as a whole. And I think for many of us, that is also how we experience it. 🙂

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  2. I.too,love k.d.’s voice. But that is only the tip of the iceberg, is it not? Her voice and who she is in this incarnation lead me to a huge understanding of so many things. I don’t even know how to explain it in words, but you do know what I mean. Thank you for this post-it’s important.

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  3. Hy Kat, puh so many word´s and explanations and my “bad/basic English”.
    I understand a lot and i would like to have enough word´s to talk or write about this “things”.
    At first, do you know the book of Lee Carroll “The Indigo Children”?
    I guess… ähäh aa.. it´s possible that this book help you.

    Your theme regarding k.d (sorry i have not enough word´s and practice in English), ehm…but…
    —————————————————————————————
    Here, in your text – i will try to say something…
    When I say that k.d. is an authentic artist, I am not talking about arbitrary claims to legitimacy such as musical education or experience or seniority, or awards won or any other socio-political yard-stick we may use to give k.d. her kudos. I am talking about the ability of her artistry to make profound spiritual changes in our lives. In fact, I almost want to make the more normative claim that we “should” see beyond the ear-candy to the more substantive philosophical issues k.d. bridges for us. But that may be too much…even for me who sees in k.d. the chance to make serious spiritual headway in this life.
    ————————————————————————————————–
    You know a lot of k.d.,
    but you have two ways in your natural äh äh hmm being. There is, one way, i call it – in german – “the old way or the old way being human, or the old energy”.

    This is the way of our society, there is ONLY logic, science,rules, “normality”
    (hahahaha haa, sorry i must always laugh about the word and meaning of normality).
    and so on.. i think you know what i mean…
    And you have another “way”. But this way is the “new way or better the older older older way of human beeing”.

    But this way is non-verbal. You can´t catch it with your mind what there ist going on.
    And you don´t must catch it. Don´t explain it.

    In the traditional chinese medicine it call´s “the ääh äh mmm puh…. the the the “monkeymind”…
    The monkeymind never like to stop talking to analyze, to release and so on.
    The monkeymind will be always the big boss. But (we) you are more than mind or monkeymind. And this “more” is always non-verbal.

    Nobody can explain it good enough, okay, maybe a guy who speak an better english that i do… 🙂 eh häm hmmm

    I think we are “all one” sometimes i can feel it, unfortunately … and i think (we all)
    you are only energy, maybe with frequency difference.

    But nobody can remember of the natural being. (Sometimes i think i am the only one)

    And than, when a person suddenly ähäh… damn… at that level “the older older older way”… 🙂

    than the human falls in a or can falls in a “spiritual crisis” (in german)..

    I think you only moved in a higher level! Maybe it was the song, maybe it was k.d., i don´t know. I guess it was “only” the Frequence the ähähäh ton… äh audio…. äh energy… the level on that you are but on that you not go on…

    And k.d. or the prince of Wales, or the queen of Saba, whatever, can´t do that on you or for you, when you are not on the same frequence. What do you feel, is only energy and your monkeymind starts the fight. He will not die.

    And your mind fights, because the monkey will go on and on, jumping from tree to tree(an analyse the songs and the word´s an that k.d.) and the “higer level” what is non-verbal, is the feeling and the inner knowledge of truth and authenticity and wisdom and clearness, harmony, peace and maybe all the things you see in or on? in… on… äh… at…. in k.d. —————— are only the things from your self.

    From the part of that Kat who is not allowed to life? Because it is not a “normal way” to life but only in our society. When you go on a trek in Nepal, high, very high and life with the people there, there is this very normal and natural and our society unnormal…

    In your mind is thinking over and over again.. okay…
    but there is being and feeling, a natural being, only being without word´s
    (hmmm sorry I have not enough words…. grrrr…) too

    Let this life in your self, maybe than you need not anymore the äh äh… what is the name of your k.d. ähhh sickness?
    No analysis, no explain, no words anymore.
    Do not do what your monkeymind will do. You are not your monkeymind. He want´s to let you know this, but it´s not truth.

    Your higher Frequenz, your essence, that are you.
    And your monkeymind know, when you are on your essence, than do you not longer do what he wont´s to do.
    He know he would lose the day… äh fight… ja… he would die.
    And i think, you are in this level before you hear k.d. at the first time. She can´t do it for you.

    So… ja… and i am so ignorant about the rules of the society, (not my rules) and so i can say this: “k.d., who is k.d.”? “She is only a human like you and me, only energy too”.
    “She is to 90% water”… 🙂 like you. She must eat, like you. And i am sure she had a digestion too, like you! Not more. That is what i know… That are facts. And all the things your monkeymind think about is an k.d. picture, maybe a part of her but you don´t know how much of this picture is real, is Kathryne Dawn.

    Because out there are so many experience and you don´t must do all experiences, but you can extract it, feel it, write a song about it…. But you don´t know what is really Kathryn.

    She had a talent to bring your own to yourself, at first, maybe with the lyrics, maybe the sound, maybe like she look… blablabla….. puh…

    Äham… ja… in my case… äh.. i never know k.d. and i never know the scene behind.

    I don´t know, for few days or weeks ago i only heard a song, i can´t remember where, in a bar, in a shop, can´t remember, play a song very silent and only in the background.
    I am a little bit deaf and i was wondering that i reacted. A Friend of mine ask somebody who is singing in the background. He told me. Before than i don´t know k.d. and i told to my friend, i never like it, when a women sing. It is very uncommon that i like it or can to stand it.

    Few Day´s ago my friend buy a cd from k.d. and the siss boom bang and visit me, and put the new cd on the player. I did´nt know that. And than… lol…. there is a female singer in my player and i can stand it! More…. i like it! 🙂 That is a good voice a good ton for me. A good voice for me is, when the sound, the frequence, and so on can bring me down. Or make me happy. Like a good Meditation. That is a good voice for me. When i can hear it and it is so wow although i am a little deaf, although i can´t hear the lyrics or can´t understand. That is great. At first there is ever only a feeling an if is good, it feels right, than i look for it…

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