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Hrishikesh Hirway TED Talk - What You Learn When You Listen Closely

2021-10-13 | 🔗

This summer, I gave a TED Talk at the TED Conference. My talk was about what you discover when you really listen. It was based on how making Song Exploder has changed the way I think about conversations and connecting with people. My talk came out today on the TED website and on the TED Talks Daily podcast, and the very nice folks at TED asked if I would also put the audio of the talk here, on Song Exploder. And I normally wouldn’t put this much of myself on here, but they asked, and like I said, they were very nice. I hope this isn’t too meta, to talk about the show, and what I get out of making it. But it also features some music, including beautiful cello played by Yo-Yo Ma, so there’s that to look forward to. Here it is, my TED Talk on what you learn when you listen closely.

To listen to my song with Yo-Yo Ma, visit https://ffm.to/betweenthereandhere.

For more, visit songexploder.net/ted.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
You're listening to song exploder, where musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece tell the story of how they were made. My name is Rishi your way. earlier this year I gave a talk get the annual TED conference. My talk was about What you discover when you really listen and it was based on how making song exploder has changed the way that I think about conversations and connecting with people. My talk came out too on the TED website and on the TED OX daily podcast and the very nice folks. A TED asked if I would also put the audio here as a bone. It's. I hope this isn't too manner to hear me, discuss the show and when I get out of making it on the planet, asked itself, but the talk, also features some music, including beautiful cello played by Yo Yo Ma, so there's that look forward to, And there's also a pretty personal story of my own, so here it is my TED talk on what you learn
when you listen closely. She's welcome, Richie CASE here way I've been in with music, my whole life both as a musician and as a listener. but as a listener, Sometimes songs feel a little like houses to me, houses that you can only see from the street stop and admire them from the outside. You say well, look Architecture is amazing, you might be get a little peek inside it through one of the windows, but it's just, beauty that you have to appreciate from a distance cause. It's not yours. And ass a musician when you put a song out into the world It can sometimes feel like you're trapped in the backyard of this house that you built there might be. people looking at it but you never get the chance to show them anything inside. inside a song there,
these parts they get imagined and written and recorded that are so full of thought and beauty, but Only the people who made the song ever get to hear those pieces on their own. Most people get smash together in the final version that comes out. Ever I put out a song, I was always a little sad that No one else was going to get to hear the things that I had heard when I was making it. Let me show you what I mean clip from a song of mine, the ok. What's your experience when you listen to that, you might like it, maybe or you might hate it say.
Now, dude twenty seconds of a song. What do you want from me, which is fair? what I hear is impossible to expect anyone else to hear. It's not just the cello part and the guitar part and the drumbeat It's also all the things that I lived through in order for that music to exist. So in two thousand and fourteen, I started a show to try and solve this distance between the creator and the audience I interviewed musicians about one of their songs and then combine that with the different layers of music that make up that song. I thought this way An artist could bring a listener in and give them a guided tour of this house. They made They could point to the foundation and say this is how the song got started and then as more and more layers get built on top eventually the full song. It's revealed shows called song, explode her it's apart, songs, but
a pie cast, and it's also a tv show that I adapted for Netflix and over the years, I've gotten to talk to some of the biggest musicians in the world about their work. People like Fleetwood And you too Lin Manuel Miranda, Alicia Keys, Billie Eilish, the roots and Yo Yo Ma and over two hundred others at first, I was really looking at those isolated pieces of music to do work of revealing the inside of their respective houses. But as I was having conversations with them about their songs, something happened. I realized that There were rooms to be discovered in the conversations themselves, doors that could be opened And I started to wonder: could I try listening to people the way that I was trying to listen to music because when someone tells you something just like with the song. There can be all these layers within. It can be always context that you're missing as a person
out on the street. Outside of the house To get inside I had to listen for those moments and clues were there more to be discovered where there is something below the surface of what was first presented to me. So I borrowed from my music listening brain when I'm in a conversation, This is what I tried to do be open to new ideas. Stop multitasking. let the other person know that you're engaged and do it without taking your focus away from them and turning it on to you because I'm making song exploder. I now listen to a much wider range of music that I used to. When I was younger, I used to actually pride myself on my music strawberry, but nowadays, it just feels like I'm, potentially cutting myself off from hearing some great ideas and I that's a prerequisite when it comes to listening to people too have to go into it.
Open minded and curious and ready to learn something new, So the instinct to multitask is so hard to turn off, but it's so important that you do it. You know when you're listening to music these days most of the time, it's something that we do passively It's in the background, it's the soundtrack to something else that we're doing and I hate to say it, but between our phones and our smart watches and just our own wandering thoughts it's easy to get distracted and we tend to listen to other people that way too. But you can't really get immersed. If that's the case, imagine, trying to listen to a song. While singing a different song in your head. You can't do Are you can't do it well and I fully appreciate what someone else is saying you think about something else. I'm also a big believer in the power of nonverbal communication like simple act of a nod is A way to let the other person know that you're engaged, and
so invites them to keep going and say more that and of intentional engage silence, make space for them. Sometimes, though, you do have to actually ask for more, you have to draw them out, but. if you can ask for what's below the surface of what they just said, you might unlock some door for them and invite them. to go through with you. That also means turning off the engine. TED talk about yourself, I think that this is actually the best way to show that I was really listening. Someone would tell me something- and I'd say: oh man, you know that reminds me of this thing that happened to me tell her story of my own, but it's kind of way Listening to half a song and saying, oh, you know this part reminds me of this other song and then turn. that first song off and going and putting on some other song, which is also something I've done.
But you can't get deeper if you lose the moment like that. it's a challenge to your impatience. enter your selfishness To be engaged without making it about you, ok and so now to ignore it it's talking about yourself. I would like to Talk about myself. tell you a little bit about me and that song that I played your part of two, hopefully else, I'm talking about years ago. When I was making my first recordings I would play my songs over and over and over again in my bedroom. my music, where wasn't really something I could talk about with my parents. They were hard working immigrants whose dream for me had been to become a doctor or a lawyer, but every now and then I was here my mom humming, one of my songs just to herself in the kitchen. And that felt like some kind of unspoken approval.
and over the years whenever I would hear my mom humming one of my songs. It made me so happy. Last fall. My mom passed away. And a few weeks after her funeral, I had where I got to see her and talk to her and visit with her for a little bit, and I woke up. Filled with longing and sadness, but also gratitude for this moment and the stream- and I ended up writing a song about it,
but it's in the bridge. one of the people who I talk to about the song was making. It was your. I told him This is what the song is about and what the music is supposed to do in this part and asked him, do you think that the cello could represent my mom's voice. And he was in everything that I said, and then he played those notes.
the here's everything together again, so now What's your experience when you listen to that inside the house. every conversation has the potential to open up and the old all the layers and layers within it, others, rooms within rooms and, firstly, hope that I can keep looking for those ways in so, Experience the depth and the richness of someone else's ideas every chance I get to hear them for now,
Thanks for listening to mine, thank you so at the conference? After my talk, I prefer My song live solo. But I thought, Here. In this episode, I could include the actual recording of the song instead Here's, my song between there and here featuring YO, Yo Ma in it's entirety.
You bring me my son. He denied access still like the following suit me you're, a piece just. I can still see tee, you'd, falsely don't just I guess it's good to see you.
song, exploder dot net, Slash TED. If you want watch the video of my talk, which, it also includes the solo performance of the song. You can also watch the music video. Thanks so much to everyone at TED, especially collect and felt who invited me to speak at the conference and cheap Roman who worked with me. For weeks and weeks to help me put my talk together, if you want to hear more ideas, subscribe, The TED talks daily Podcast Review, listen to song exploder. They posted you TED talk on there, every weekday I'm Rishi case your way thanks for listening, I mean coming to my TED talk. Radio to.
Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.