Annie Lennox on How to 'Catch' Creative Ideas

The Eurythmics star discusses insights from her life as a musician, AIDS activist, mother, and more. 

 

More

User's Guide to Energy Special Report bug
A series of interviews with leaders in media, tech, and the arts
See more

Everyone can find a song to love from Annie Lennox, the singer behind huge hits like “Walking on Broken Glass,” “No More ‘I Love You’s,’” and, of course, “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This.” But she didn't set out to become a pop star — Lennox began her music career at 17 playing the flute in the Royal Academy of Music in London.

“What I discovered is that I was going to be a really bad flute player,” she explains in the short video above, the first in a new series called Creative Breakthroughs from Atlantic Video. 

She built four decades of creative work on the conviction that artists must know what they want to share with their audience, learn from their own experiences, and ignore their critics (at least in the early stages of a project).

“You don’t have to be the best, best, best,” she said. “If you love doing what you’re doing and you have a passion for it, it’s good enough!”

80 million record sales later, Lennox has a new passion: Eliminating HIV/AIDS. Lennox now serves as an ambassador for the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and other organizations like Oxfam, Amnesty International, and the British Red Cross. "I do a lot of things," she said with a smile.

This interview was filmed at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival.

Jump to comments

Emma Green is the assistant managing editor of TheAtlantic.com, where she also oversees the National Channel and writes about religion and culture.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

How have stories changed in the age of social media? The minds behind House of Cards, This American Life, and The Moth discuss.


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In