Rick Rubin is arguably the most important record producer of the past 25 years. His stamp on contemporary music is immeasurable.
Silence, apparently, has had a big role to play in that story.
Diving into the source of music
As many good things in life, Rick’s first encounter with meditation was rather accidental.
“I was very lucky. [When I was 14,] my neck hurt and I went to my doctor, who was kind of hip, and he said it was stress-caused and that I needed to learn how to meditate. So I learned how to do Transcendental Meditation,“ Rubin says.
“Sometimes I’ll go years with meditating and then years with not meditating. Now that I’m in a ’meditation cycle’, it feels good… Let’s listen to silence. The more you understand silence, [the more you understand] that’s where the balance comes.“
The man behind the scenes
Rubin borrowed $5,000 from his parents to start the Def Jam label win his New York University dorm room. Soon he was working with the cream of the music world —Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, Mick Jagger, Slayer, U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Aerosmith, Sheryl Crow, LL Cool J, Jay-Z, The Beastie Boys, Eminem, Lana Del Rey and Adele to name a few — transcending musical genres like no other producer before him.
Add to that eight Grammy awards, being named one of Time’s most influential people in the world, a co-presidency of Columbia Records – and you begin to see why Rick Rubin has more than earned his magic reputation.
Has he ever been in he studio with somebody and thought, ‘Hey, they’d benefit from learning to meditate’?
“All the time,” tells Rubin. “I’ve bought TM for artists and I’ve made albums where we would meditate before each session.
When we made Californication, we meditated before each session. At least two [of the Red Hot Chili Peppers] every time, sometimes three, rarely four. Tom Petty, when we made Wildflowers, we often meditated before we started each session.”
His trademark beard, untouched since he was 23 years old, pays homage to that spiritual influence.