How John Legend Uses Meditation As Part Of His Creative Process
Whether you're the type of person who curates a new playlist for every mood, or someone who sticks to the same tried-and-true songs, music likely plays a role in your life. Music can help you focus at work, motivate you during a workout, and help you tap into your emotions. Sounds a lot like meditation, no?
Arguably, no one understands the power of music more than 11-time Grammy Award–winning artist John Legend. To find out how he gets into a creative flow, mbg asked the musician and chief music officer at Headspace how he calms his mind and body before a writing session.
John Legend's 3-step routine for tapping into creativity:
- Meditation: While it may not happen directly before his writing session, Legend makes sure to incorporate meditation into his routine. "It's usually in the morning as I'm just getting ready for my day," he tells mbg.
- Exercise: Mornings are usually his time to work out, too. According to the artist, both of these practices help him get his mind and his body ready for the day.
- Vocal exercises: With the guidance of his vocal coach, Legend will go through his regimen of vocal exercises. "Those put you in a good mental space, too, because you're loosening your body up; you're loosening your mind up," he says. "You're doing particular exercises that are familiar and get you in the mode to start creating and to start singing."
Once he's done with his prewriting rituals, if you will, Legend allows the creativity to come to him. "I usually start with maybe one line or so that helps inspire the music," he says, "and then I create the whole musical structure of the song before I know what the lyric is."
While it may sound spontaneous and free-flowing, Legend actually utilizes (intentionally or not) the brain benefits of sticking to a routine. "I've written the same way for 20 years," he says. "It doesn't work exactly that way for everyone else, but it works for me."
While most of us might not identify as songwriters or musical artists, we can all benefit from pieces of Legend's creative practice. Developing a consistent routine and engaging in mindful practices, such as meditation and movement, may inspire creativity if you're stuck in a rut.
Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.