Billy Joel reveals reasons behind 17-year music absence

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Billy Joel.

LOS ANGELES, Feb 3, (Agencies): Billy Joel is shedding light on the 17-year hiatus in his songwriting journey, clarifying the reasons behind the prolonged creative pause. The 74-year-old Piano Man singer disclosed that his self-critical nature, coupled with the loneliness of solo songwriting, led to a period of self-imposed musical silence. Speaking on the Audacy Check-In podcast, Joel shared that he sets a high standard for himself, and failing to meet it would result in self-criticism and a loss of enjoyment in the process.

Describing the songwriting experience as “lonely” when done independently, Joel expressed a desire for the music creation process to recapture the fun and joy he initially found in it. He explained that music, especially rock ‘n’ roll, was meant to be enjoyable, but he had lost that sense of fun and turned away from music as a result.

However, everything changed when Joel crossed paths with Freddy Wexler, his songwriting partner on “Turn the Lights Back On.” The chance meeting was orchestrated by Joel’s family doctor, leading to a collaboration that reignited Joel’s passion for songwriting. The singer emphasized that hearing Wexler’s work brought back the joy and enthusiasm he had been missing, symbolized by the title of their new song.

Joel praised the melody, chords, and time signature of “Turn the Lights Back On,” stating that the elements resonated with him instantly. He mentioned that the lyrics flowed naturally once the melody was heard, with a sense of familiarity and personal connection to the words. In reflecting on the process, Joel admitted that the pieces fell into place effortlessly, prompting him to embrace the resurgence of his love for songwriting without resistance.

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