By Trent Rentsch
This month, the virtual Creative roundtable continues, as a variety of Creatives in my life answer the not so simple question, “Where does your Creativity come from?”
We are just about to ask our Server for another round, when the door to the Tap Room bursts open, and HE struts into the room. At that moment, all at the table know that the conversation is about to take a, unique, turn.
HE is Roy Cunningham. I think I’ve introduced you to Roy in this column in the past. It’s hard to define Roy (and not just as a Creative). Roy has been a DJ, an Audio Producer, a Guitarist (with major rock stars whose names you would know), a Composer, a Writer, a Video Producer… and that’s really the tip of the iceberg. I’ve often thought that if the most bizarre Frank Zappa album came to life, it would be Roy. He recently signed a contract with a German record company and is working on his first release with them. In the meantime, he continues to Create radio and television ads for businesses across the Pacific Northwest. You can discover bits and pieces of his work at roycunningham.com, but it’s really hard to get the whole picture that is Roy unless you sit down and tip back a couple with him… like, this…
After the initial flurry of bear hugs and toasts to Creativity in general, Roy takes a deep sip of some obscure microbrew, and begins to speak…
Creativity Sip 1
For me… creativity began at age six. …a young mind already hell-bent on creation, unbridled in its “organic” ability to visualize and report on the flood of ideas fomenting in the recesses it’s folds.
Age 11… Creativity blossomed on the river side of a levee outside New Orleans as I skipped school at Kenner Junior High. The Mississippi was part of native American worship… the father of all waters… it’s music is rich… it’s appearance is magnificent… life is bursting with sound… great ships sailed by… the sky a deep blue, white puffy clouds move along in the lazy fashion of all things you see… All that’s around you motivates you to take time to see, hear and feel all of it…
That’s when you hear the music.
Creativity Sip 2
When you grow up in New Orleans’ French Quarter… you cannot avoid “rhythm”. Down there… something as primal as our gait gives reason to groove… In fact, that’s the name of a cut I’m working on now…”Reason to Groove”… it’s a duality of thought… think about it…see what you come up with… there, you’re taking a bit of my soul… that’s what creativity is all about.
There’s music in every corner of the Quarter… traffic, human voices, sounds of everyday life… the roux upon which the gumbo of mumbo jumbo simmers to perfection the sound of a culture like no other in the world.
Creativity Sip 3
One can only describe indicators of creativity. Experiences that make up our lives… influences that help define who we are… emergence of creativity into the “real” world is the proverbial “tip of the iceberg”…
For me… it’s rhythm. …there’s rhythm in everything.
A beat, if you will… cadence, syncopation, tempo… measure by measure patterns emerge into sequences that repeat until harmony and melody join at a juncture completely unanticipated and remarkably… unheard only moments prior as I go about the matter of life.
I hear the rhythms all the time… thanks to my life in the French Quarter, on the bayou… in the swamps, on the river and out in the open water… I have thousands of images forever stamped in my mind of how things move… and when they move… there’s sound… when they’re all making sound… I hear music.
At that point, Roy begins singing the lyrics to a Broadway show ditty, set to the tune of an old Southern gospel song. That’s Roy. An unbridled Creative soul who finds the joy in simply letting go and ignoring the rules (that is, assuming he even knows there are rules…).
As Roy convinces the rest of us to join his sing-a-long (the man demands company in his insanity), I see out of the corner of my eye that several other Creative guests have arrived. I wonder what they must think. I wonder if they’ll turn tail and run. And if they do stay, I wonder what new possibilities Creatives from the world of music and pictures will share with us. But most of all, I wonder how much pain I’m going to be in tomorrow as Roy herds us all into an impromptu Rockette’s dance line…