One of Canada’s most noted authors, singers and poets, Leonard Cohen isn’t exactly a carefree character.
Noted for his deep baritone voice and his dark subject matter, Cohen is the vagabond of our country’s culture, effortlessly telling our stories over decades without losing one single shred of “cool.” Case in point: at 82, the man still rocks a three-piece suit and a fedora.
Cohen gave a lengthy interview to The New Yorker, candidly reflecting on his long life, his spirituality, and his career. He also discussed his upcoming 14th album, You Want It Darker, adding that he has plenty of material (poems and music) that he doesn’t think will ever see the light of day.
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“I don’t think I’ll be able to finish those songs,” he told The New Yorker. “Maybe, who knows? And maybe I’ll get a second wind, I don’t know. But I don’t dare attach myself to a spiritual strategy. I don’t dare do that. I’ve got some work to do. Take care of business. I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”
Cohen has never shied away from the topic of death in his writing and in his songs, and he says that it stares him in the face every day because of his age and his not-so-great health. He also emphasizes that he’ll most likely never go out on tour again, after realizing the physical changes to his voice on a 2007 tour.
“I hadn’t played any of these songs for fifteen years,” he said. “My voice had changed. My range had changed. I didn’t know what to do. There was no way I could transpose the positions that I knew.”
Still, despite all the changes to his body and soul, Cohen is resigned to his fate.
“As I approach the end of my life, I have even less and less interest in examining what have got to be very superficial evaluations or opinions about the significance of one’s life or one’s work,” he said. “I was never given to it when I was healthy, and I am less given to it now.”
You can read his full interview with The New Yorker here.
‘You Want It Darker’ will be released on Oct. 21.