Legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon has revealed the title of his new album Seven Psalms came to him during a dream in 2019.
Simon’s latest album was released on May 19th and marks the singer-songwriter’s first body of work in five years since In The Blue Light. The New Yorker has now during a conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon in The Big Issue how the LP came about, and the reasoning behind his creative process.
“Psalms are songs of praise to God. And this piece, Seven Psalms, is very much about the subject of God. But not always a praise,” Simon said of the idea for the album. He added: “I had a dream on 15 January 2019. And the dream said, ‘You’re working on a piece called Seven Psalms.’ It was so vivid that I woke up and wrote it down, which is not typical of me.
“Nor do I take instructions from my dreams. But this was a very powerful dream. And it was also the anniversary of my father’s passing, which is probably just a coincidence, if you believe in coincidence, which I do.”
Simon then discussed his songwriting cycle and revealed he typically has “an impulse to write” every three years. He explained: “I had no intention of writing anything. I was in what I’ve come to understand is a typical cycle of my creative process. It’s been this way ever since I started; approximately every three years or so there is an impulse to write. And after I complete whatever it is that I’m writing – it’s always been in the form of an album – there’s a period that you could call a fallow period, which I’ve usually filled up by performing.”
The singer concluded: “So it may have been that it was just time for me to start to harvest whatever the creative impulse was, or maybe this dream was something unusual in my history, but anyway, that’s how it began.”
Additionally, Simon recently spoke about his own mortality, which is another theme of Seven Psalms and admitted during an interview with The Sunday Times that “my generation’s time is up”.