I’ve posted this clip before of Todd Rundgren’s 1972 hit “I Saw The Light” but it bears posting again for the purposes of this commentary. When I say “Elders” I don’t necessarily mean old. In fact we’ve had this discussion many times within the pages of this blog that Grown does not equal Old. What I’m trying to illustrate here through the use of “I Saw The Light” is that Todd was acknowledging two songwriters who had gone down along the road with making their impact not only on music at large but on a personal level. Todd Rundgren was able to take that inspiration and as he ingested the sounds and words of Laura Nyro and Carole King two things become readily apparent: Todd spent time with their music and highly regarded their work which the end result is the pastiche that we’ve come to know as “I Saw The Light”.

That’s Grown. You see, we all have been influenced and whereas we seek to forge our own path it is virtually impossible to do that without having a solid footing in whatever we are trying to accomplish. That solid footing comes from time spent with some Elders. Some Elders are in close proximity to you so the relationship is more of an intimate one and others may be influential and you haven’t met them (yet). But what will always be readily apparent is that your output should reflect time well spent with whomever you claim as an influence. Further, if you claim such influence as your own, if you care and decide to behave in our Grown manner, you will soon realize that as the time grows that you spend with your chosen Elders, you will value their example to the point that you will seek not to create anything that will create a crack in your established foundation.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.