People always ask the question "if you could sit down and have dinner with six people, who would you choose?" Well, I think that's a loaded question. It gives you too many choices, and just because you are going to have dinner with those people doesn't mean you'll have great conversation. Since one of my favorite things is visiting local coffee shops (I sorely missed the all of the options available to me in Nashville while I was home over break), here's my revised version of the question:
If you could sit down, share a cup of coffee with, and talk to one living person in the world for an hour, who would you choose?
Me? I would choose the one and only Sufjan Stevens (pronunciation: soof-yawn stevens). To me, he is one of the most intriguing men in the world today. Also, in my opinion, he is the greatest songwriter of our age. He transcends "genre." He can write a folky heart-wrenching singer-songwriter style song, like "Casimir Pulaski Day", or he can write a symphonic-extravaganza like "Chicago". If you listen carefully, you can hear his faith jump out in his music, but it doesn't shout out at you like CCM artists of our day. Last fall, he went on a short tour in the US (unfortunately, he didn't stop in Nashville, and I couldn't make the drive somewhere else). Pretty much every date sold out within the first couple of minutes they went on sale, and that was with a 2-ticket limit per person. He also played relatively small venues, which showcases the fact that he values the artist-audience relationship. Not to mention that there is no typical Sufjan "fan." I've met so many different types of people that value his music. He also keeps good company himself - one of my other favorite artists, St. Vincent, played guitar on tour for him. He collaborated with yet another great individual by the name of Rosie Thomas on the album These Friends of Mine.
I have 186 Sufjan songs in my library. Usually it's quality, not quantity - but with Sufjan, you get both. I never grow tired of listening to him. And I would never grow tired of listening to him speak if I had the chance to sit down and talk to him. He's not a sore sight to look at, either.
Who would you choose?