Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding on what it takes to be authentic

(Photo above by NurPhoto / Getty Images)

Great artists are authentic. It’s how they are able to connect to enormous audiences, yet each person experiencing the music, or art, feels directly spoken to. What would you do if you could go through life with this kind of genuine, inspiring power?

Being yourself, truly yourself, is hard. Today, we speak with legendary Grammy-winning jazz musicians Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding about how Buddhism has helped them become their most authentic selves.

P.S. The book mentioned in the episode is called Reaching Beyond: Improvisations on Jazz, Buddhism, and a Joyful Life.

(You can also listen to Buddhability on AppleSpotify, or wherever you get podcasts.)

Cheat Sheet

1:25 Introduction to Wayne & Esperanza

2:41 How Esperanza discovered Buddhism

5:22 Why Wayne started chanting

7:11 How Wayne discovered a deeper purpose to playing music

8:10 How chanting helped Wayne see himself more clearly

12:23 Esperanza on authenticity as a musician

17:35 Wayne on how Buddhism can help you check yourself

19:25 Esperanza on how to unlock your own capacity

20:34 Some notes on Esperanza’s “life force”

21:48 On Wayne & Esperanza’s friendship

23:33 Wayne’s advice to anyone who feels stuck with their art or work

24:57 A key lesson from today’s conversation

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