Neil Young Reveals His Legendary Songwriting Process: “Everything Else Stops”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Over the course of his nearly six-decade career, famed singer/songwriter Neil Young created an impressive musical catalog of 1,180 songs. Out of this discography, 21 of his albums and singles are certified Gold and Platinum, and the Candian/American has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice. Refusing to slow down, Young is still producing music today.

In an exclusive Apple interview with Zane Lowe, which airs today, Young chatted about his forthcoming record, titled Barn. This will be Young’s 41st studio album and will drop on December 12, featuring Young’s longtime band, Crazy Horse. Lowe probed the acclaimed artist for more details, and a discussion about Young’s songwriting process emerged.

“I don’t even know. It just happens,” Young began explaining to Lowe. “I just never not do it. If it’s happening, it’s happening. Everything else stops. That’s the most important thing. So if you want to do that, if you want to write songs, when the song comes to you, you got to stop everything else. No matter what you’re doing, you just leave and you just go somewhere and pick up on what it was you got.”

“Is it hard for some people throughout your life to understand that application?” Lowe responded.

“They hardly even notice,” Young replied, “because I just disappear. I don’t know. I’m not there.”

This back and forth between the two artists is especially revealing considering Young’s several upcoming projects. In addition to Barn, Young has also announced that he will be releasing a batch of never-before-released demos called Summer Songs.

Lowe continued: “This ability to play ghost is really coming out throughout your life.”

“Well, it’s just a natural thing,” Young said. “It’s no big deal. It’s just if you got something to do and you’ve got to do it, you just do it. I just blend away.”


Watch the clip of Neil Young and Zane Lowe, below. Check out the full interview on Apple Music 1 on Wednesday (12/8) at 1:00 pm at apple.co/_BarnInterview

Photo and video courtesy of Apple Music.

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