If you listen carefully to the lyrics, you can notice that almost every song by Motown is a declaration of love and thanks to the childhood and the mothers who kept the songwriters safe, fed, healthy and hopeful about the future. The songs are an extension of their mother’s dreams for their lives and the tender support they poured into their children.
It is also clear to me that the Motown masterminds could have pitied themselves, could have written about explosive topics of the era or their own harsh lot, could have turned into common assholes, get themselves locked up or killed, and so on.
Instead, they used their gifts to bring sun, romance, pleasure and universal feelings to audiences of all ages. They picked the best performers and the best musicians to deliver their music — and kept their high standards of artistry, respect and elegance, regardless of the events around them. If you listen to the memories of the living artists of Motown, every single one of them talks glowingly about how excited they were to create the most memorable concert, the most touching recording, an accessible and outstanding genre that will always stay in style, and how well they were treated by the music management. They knew they were making something new and unheard-of, something durable and unique, something uplifting and independent.
There are many lessons for creatives and many lessons for life in these observations.
To sum it up: if you are good, you don’t need provocations, scandals, a lot of money, privilege, vices, bad habits, anger, hot cold histrionics to distract from how good you are. You can attract a crowd through harmony, good taste, the power of a good message, through beauty, love and genuine thanksgiving. If you have something good to offer, offer it. It will outlast everything else.