I'll begin with a confession: I love Coldplay. Love the hell out of them, actually. That's right. I'm the dewy-eyed lady in the front row at their (dazzling) concerts mouthing the words to "Yellow," and I am not ashamed. Nor should you be. After all, it's not like they're Nickelback or anything.
Coldplay will be front and center at Super Bowl 50's halftime show alongside Beyoncé and Bruno Mars. Look at the stars ... see how they shine for you. And the rest of America. But also, you.
Frontman Chris Martin is famous for being just a little bit eccentric, as is common among the visionary set. Wouldn't you like to take a peek under the creative hood of the man who named his daughter "Apple"? You just know there's some next-level stuff going on in there. Here's a look into the inner workings of a band whose creative momentum never seems to fade, album after amazing album:
- They like to keep a low profile. Chris Martin and company actually prefer to give as few interviews as possible with the explicit purpose of keeping their public image well controlled and low-key. Few things are better for brand than intrigue, and in Coldplay's case, less has proven time and time again to be more. I can't think of many bands that have managed to stay at the forefront of the music scene over the course of nearly 20 years in the business the way Coldplay has. This may be due to them not giving us a chance to be tired of them running their mouths. I'm looking at you, Kanye.
- They share the glory. Sure, Martin might be the most famous of the bunch, but behind the closed doors of Coldplay's rehearsal space, these guys are equals (Coldplay's other members, in case you wondered, are Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion). They each have an equal hand in writing and evaluating new songs.
- There are actually band rules. No, really--Coldplay has arrived at an actual secret formula of sorts, a de facto band creed that guides their philosophy and creative output. Among the rules: Albums can be no longer than 42 minutes or 9 tracks, and imagery must be "classic, colorful, and different." I won't lie; I sort of hope they have a secret handshake, too.
- Chris Martin writes everything down. Everything. On napkins. On his hand. On other people's hands. On whiteboards. Martin writes it all down, lest he lose the idea of the century. He's been described as "a compulsive worrier."
- There's magic in flexibility. Call it "maa-aaa-a-gic" (see what I did there?), but Martin and company have developed a knack for following their creative instincts, even in cases where that calls for abandoning their original plans. They had originally planned Mylo Xyloto as a low-key acoustic album, but once they found themselves in the studio, the energy was different and they respected that and let the project evolve on its own. Sure enough, they wound up recording "Paradise," a song that is a virtual wall of sound (and anything but acoustic). I consider it one of their best.
You don't have to name your kids after fruit or "consciously uncouple" to get inspired by Coldplay's creative process. So get out there and start making your own band rules.