Jonny Greenwood is a Fake

House of Cards Season 3 must be out because everyone at the gym is hogging the rowing machines. Also–Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood is in the news this week, cryptic and salacious statements about an incoming Radiohead record, and also performing new compositions with an Indian ensemble. The man is busy. Scoring for PT Anderson, in-house composer for the BBC, writing with an Indian ensemble, touring Steve Reich pieces, and making the new Radiohead record, the guy is a shark. He keeps swimming or he dies. That may not be so far from the truth. He says,
“I think it’s good to be a moving target… just keep moving and it also means you don’t get found out. I think everyone lives in fear of being found out, of being slightly fraudulent and kind of getting away with something.”
I don’t know why, but I’m surprised to see Greenwood saying this. Radiohead has sold millions of records, to critical acclaim, and is established as a primary driving force for their “musical collective”. (Pretentious? I know, but “band” sounded to paternal). The man has WON OSCARS, for Pete’s sake.
This idea of  “… so he won’t be found out” feeling is what psychologists call “Imposter Syndrome”. Basically, that many of us feel like a fake and we will be unmasked before all.
Maya Angelou said “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’ “
We learn. We’re all at different levels of competence in our respective areas. This is ok.

Levels of Expertise (According to Gordon Training Int’l)

Unconscious Incompetence – you’re bad and you don’t know it.

Conscious Competence – you know correct technique, you just have to think about it while you do it. Think about a time when a coach helped you with an athletic move. “Three steps forward, lead with your right foot, left knee up, at the same time lift the ball to the hoop”. I’ve talked about this more here, specifically citing Ira Glass’ incredibly articulate and motivating thoughts on the subject.

Unconscious Competence – You’ve integrated your technical skills to a level where you no longer have to think about it. You now walk and don’t tentatively put one foot in front of the other, reaching out for a wall or railing, wobbling as you go.

I instruct many students who, musically, have come from towns or scene situations where they were a big fish in a small pond. They enroll in a collegiate music program and realize maybe they aren’t such a commodity.
So, what to do? Firstly, realize everyone feels like this, and realize you’re comparing your internal to others’ external. Live through the wave. Tina Fay says, “”The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh God, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud.”
Have you ever felt like a faker?

Listening: John Davis (S/T)

Watching: House of Cards (S3)