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Baker's Dozen

Cabin Fever: Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s Favourite Music
Stephanie Phillips , May 5th, 2021 09:24

Beverly Glenn-Copeland takes Stephanie Phillips through the albums that fuelled his love for music over the years, from the soundtracks to secluded woodland trips to meetings with younger artists inspired by his work and how he found the work of Sting


Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
I was stunned when one day I turned on the radio recently and there it was. I thought, ‘what, they're playing Marvin Gaye?’ And then I realised that Marvin Gaye, that particular album, has come back again because it was talking about things that people, by and large, weren't listening to relatively – except for very few people, a lot of Black people who were really into it. They really got it. They really understood it because they were living it. It's an incredibly heart-centred album. Very compassionate, very spiritual, and straight talking at the same time. I just adored it. I listened to it until I was blue in the face.

I came upon What’s Going On about six months or so before I went to be in this cabin. I had a disc of it and I would play it in my car. I would rediscover it, and then I'd start playing it again. It had an effect where I would listen to it intensely for a year or two and then it receded into the background and then it came back again six or seven years later, and I listened to it very intensely again.

The meanings deepened and deepened every time I would listen, I would hear more. There were things that I didn't really take in on some kind of level when I first was playing it. Then six years later, or eight years later, or ten years later, when I heard it was like [gasps] ‘listen to what he's saying, they’re right’. In terms of the pain that people were going through, did go through, and are still going through because of being marginalised and seen as less than, and the desperation that brings to the soul. For some, there wasn't a way to be able to deal with it. In one of those pieces, he's talking about being completely hooked on whatever the drug was at the time, but he speaks from the first person. Not that, that was happening to him, but it talks from the first person with such understanding, such empathy, it made me understand all the more deeply the despair and what happens to a person who becomes hooked on something that heavy.

All music inspires me. It didn't have anything to do with what I was going to write, what was coming through to me. What inspires me is the genius of others. For me, it's like food. Yeah, that's the best way to put it. It's like really good food. It's not like, you know, a bunch of potato chips. There are times for potato chips. But if it's something that profound, it really is like the very best of food for the soul.