Paul Simon has opened up on the impact of his hearing loss, explaining that it could spell the end of his days as a performer.
The music icon is deaf in his left ear and explained that the condition is impacting his ability to perform live.
“I lost my hearing in my left ear, so I probably won’t be able to perform again because when there are drums or electric guitars, I can’t hear enough of myself to feel that I’m making music,” he said at a London Q&A with illustrator Charlie Mackesy yesterday.
“I’m back to playing and maybe what I write now is going to be like that. Very simple. I really don’t know.”
Simon was speaking alongside Mackesy to mark the unveiling of the illustrator’s interpretative drawings to go alongside the singer’s latest album Seven Psalms, which was released in May.
But there still remains a glimmer of hope for fans. Simon went on to explain that he is meeting with musicians next week to see if performing Seven Psalms could be a feasible possibility.
“I f that works I will try to then add the percussion and [other] instruments to the piece. And then if that works it’s possible that I could do the Seven Psalms as a live performance,” said Simon.
As for the illustrations, Simon initially reached out to Mackesy after a friend introduced him to the work of the man who scored Oscar and BAFTA glory with The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, a 2022 adaptation of his celebrated book.
“[Paul] replies incredibly quickly. Bang,” said Mackesy of initial email chats with Simon.
Simon told Mackesy he was “interested” to see the artist’s interpretation of Seven Psalms, but admitted he did not know where it might lead.
“I thought, ‘I have no idea what this would lead to but my work is [now] the source material for what Charlie’s going to do so that’s great. I’m the audience now,’” said Simon.
Of his work with Simon, Mackesy added: “It was great as there was no brief. So I just put [the album] on continuously – loop, loop, loop, loop – and made tea and was getting to know the ideas and questions. Then I’d take the dog out, and I’d work out what had remained and what had stayed.
“Where there was a [lyrical] line, some of the lines were so strong and I could see images from them, so I would go back and draw. That’s how it worked. A bit like water going through rock.”