Saturday, July 03, 2010

Introverted Artists...

Here's a great interview with an introverted musician.  

It's from a blog called Introverted Church that deals which has to do with people who attend or are part of the church that are more introverted.  While I grew up in a Catholic home, I would define myself now as "spiritual" instead of "religious," but this interview really deals with the creative points of being an introverted artist (I could relate to many of them) and less about religion.

I found it quite interesting and I was nodding my head yes, to much of this. I put my favorite parts below, but you can read the whole interview here.

Interview with Natalie Nicole Gilbert. 

Adam:  You're pretty vocal (on twitter anyway) about your introversion and seem pretty comfortable with your temperament.  Has this always been the case? If so, why?  If not, how have you found this level of peace with your introversion?

Natalie... I find now that openly stating I'm an introvert keeps friends and acquaintances in the know.  If they get to know me one on one, working on a project especially, it's easy for people to think I'm an extrovert. Mentioning that I'm an introvert helps them understand why I'm slower to return phone calls, may wait until the 3rd invite to show up at parties, and generally don't indulge in small talk.  I've also found it's even an asset at networking events to put my introversion on the table. Inevitably, there are other introverts in the room who also find it draining to be there, though they know they should attend, and we can find relief together connecting and empowering one another.

Adam: Is it your experience that introverts thrive in music and the arts? Do you encounter more introverts than extroverts? 

Natalie: In my experience, it depends greatly on their genre or audience.  I find that many introverts wind up in the singer/songwriter genre, where their pensiveness and perception yield much reception with their thoughtful and perceptive audience.  I also find that introverts who thrive with much alone time may find it easier to devote themselves to long hours of research, composition, and/or practice that might seem more draining for extroverts who need more constant interaction with people.  So, the more 'sensational' artists that enjoy the sequins and spotlights are more likely to be extroverts, while the introverts are more likely to be the guys and gals in jeans who make relevant conversation between songs. 

How do you think your introversion factors into the creative process? Is it simply that, as an introvert, you work well in solitude, or is there a deeper link between introversion and creativity?

Natalie: On a deeper level, I think it's also that creativity and music have become a best friend.  Because we're pickier about our lifelong friends than extroverts, it's also possible that we regard more of our habits and belongings as friends. If I'm going through some dark night of the soul and I'm only getting voicemail when I reach out to a few friends, I'm given to turning to my art for respite.  That relationship makes it more of a sanctuary, and may also give me some opportunities to create or express with music what I might never verbalize in conversations.  The piano always listens, and I always listen back.   

Adam: What is the hardest part about being an introverted artist?

Natalie: For me, the hardest part is that many assume that because I'm an artist I'm thirsty for any spotlight or opportunity for fame. For the introverted artist, this couldn't be farther from the truth. (Perhaps it's also not true of the extroverted segment, but I can only speak from my side of the fence.)  I enjoy meaningful opportunities to perform, but large audience numbers or high amounts of attention are a deterrent to me, not an attraction.  I'm a pro, and I grew up performing, so performing for 14,000 for me isn't daunting or nerve wracking, but neither is it something I seek out - because the numbers, to me, don't reflect success or impact *necessarily*. I'd rather have a strong impact on 200 or 2,000 fans than a profitable but empty impact on 20,000. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this :) I read "the introvert advantage" a year or so a go and it is an amazingly helpful book!

  2. I love how she refers to habits and belongings as friends. I never thought about it like that, but they are when you do not draw much energy from extensive, impersonal interaction.

    Additionally, talking about her relationship with music, how the piano "listens." That is such a refreshing way to view solitude.


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