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David Byrne: How Do Spaces Shape The Music We Make?

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Power Of Spaces

David Byrne says "context has a huge effect on creativity." He draws on his time with Talking Heads, as well as Bach, Gregorian chant, even birds—to show how spaces affect the music we write and play.

About David Byrne

David Byrne is a musician, author, and interdisciplinary artist—best known for fronting the American rock band Talking Heads, one the most critically acclaimed bands of the 1980s. The group released three platinum albums and is featured on Rolling Stone's list, "100 Greatest Artists."

He has also written several books, including Bicycle Diaries, a journal of what he thought and experienced while cycling through the cities of the world. His 2012 book How Music Works expands on his TED Talk to imagine how music is shaped by its time and place.

In 2018 he released American Utopia—again partnering with Brian Eno. The album inspired the Broadway production David Byrne's American Utopia (2019 – ), which also featured songs from Talking Heads.

This segment of TED Radio Hour was produced by Maria Paz Gutiérrez and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Twitter @TEDRadioHour and email us at

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