Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas,
Everybody’s looking for something.
You heard her voice in your head, didn’t you? The sultry alto of Annie Lennox, the face and voice of the pop duo The Eurythmics, is one of the most distinctive voices of 80s music.
You’ll be hearing that distinctive voice at movie theatres and on playlists soon. Lennox penned the theme song for the new movie “A Private War” about the life of journalist Marie Colvin. Colvin died in 2012 while covering the war in Syria.
Lennox wasn’t even sure she was up to the task of writing a song, but she felt compelled to give it a go. She had met Colvin not long before the journalist was killed, and felt she would certainly have connected with her again had circumstances been different.
After a few hours of effort, Lennox knew she’d made the right decision.
“Wow, I must have been meant to write this. It felt so strange, like it was meant to be. I was so touched by Marie’s death and in those circumstances you feel so helpless. But writing a song a few years later felt so appropriate to me. I wanted to honor her memory,” Lennox told Variety.
It takes moxie to try even when you aren’t sure you even can, but Lennox has surfaced that kind of moxie again and again. Here’s how:
People with moxie turn transform the bad into something good.
Lennox was utterly broken in the early 80s. Her band, The Tourists, had just broken up. Her relationship with her boyfriend (Dave Stewart, who was about to become her Eurythmics bandmate) had just broken up. She was broke financially.
In the midst of their mutual despair, Stewart was noodling around with some music. Lennox heard the riffs, and something clicked. The words to began to flow, and “Sweet Dreams,” a moody, ethereal pop anthem, was born. It wasn’t the first time Lennox turned the pain she was feeling into action.
Years later, in 2008, Lennox was touring South Africa with famed civil rights icon Nelson Mandela. He was urging Lennox and others to understand how deep and serious the AIDS crisis was on the continent, and how deeply it was affecting women and children. Lennox was deeply moved. She turned her energy into action and used her celebrity and influence to raise awareness and money for that cause and many others.
“It was a life changing experience. My encounters woke me up to a multitude of stark realities regarding the contrasting way of life between Western nations and the so called developing world,” Refinery29 reports. “I do become despairing from time to time because I think, ‘This is too big, there’s nothing I can do’. But there is something I can do. And I’m doing it. I’m dedicating my time, my passion, and my platform to whatever I can do to make a contribution to the global women’s movement. That’s what I can do as an individual.”
Lennox’s contribution is the founding of The Circle, a non-profit organization dedicated to working for equality for women and girls in developing nations.
Lennox could easily have quietly donated some money and moved on with her happy life; but it’s not who she is. She uses her voice, and her moxie, to speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves.
People with moxie have a style all their own.
Founding The Circle was a bold choice, but Lennox is no stranger to bold choices.
In addition to her powerful songwriting and distinctive voice, Lennox’s bold style made her stand out in the sea of flounce and florals and pastels that dominated the 80s.
Lennox rocked androgynous looks, favoring bold menswear-inspired suits and a shock of closely cropped, brightly colored hair. The look itself was a subtle expression of her equality with her bandmate.
Those bold fashion choices turned heads and earned her a loyal fanbase in the LGBTQ community. Her style resonated with people who were also struggling for empowerment and equality.
Lennox has long been an ally of the LGBTQ community, before it was popular to do so. Moxie isn’t afraid to stand out, or stand up.
Empathy leads to moxie.
Talk to any parent, and you’re likely to hear the same thing: parenthood changes you. It awakens a sense of the larger world in a whole new way. You join a world wide club of like-minded people. That was certainly true for Lennox.
“It made me understand the commonality of motherhood,” Refinery29 reports. “All women that are mothers want the same thing.”
Mothers want to see their children grow up to be happy and healthy. While Lennox has gotten to guide her two daughters to adulthood, she knows the pain of losing a child, too. Her first child, Daniel, was stillborn.
Losing Daniel “made me realize that the human condition is immensely fragile, and strong at the same time. At the same time I lost my son, hundreds of thousands of people died in a village in a remote part of Turkey after an earthquake. Curiously enough, I identified with those people because I saw that loss was all around me…” she told a reporter.
Moxie demands self-awareness without self-centeredness. Moxie makes it possible to recognize others’ pain and acknowledge it as important as your own, and seek to offer comfort and compassion.
If you had the chance, what would you ask Lennox?