Van Dyke Parks is a composer, musician, and author. He wrote the lyrics for the Beach Boys's Smile album, has released a series of remarkable albums under his own name including Song Cycle, Jump!, and Tokyo Rose, worked as an arranger for Rufus Wainwright, U2, and Joanna Newsom, and has generously provided incidental music for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
"Well, to me, the tensile strength and the very definition of an artist is something that I would place at the top of a vertical hierarchy. To be an artist is to suffer and to lead a life without shelter. It takes a great amount of daring-do, self reinvention, imagination, familial loyalty, sacrifice, economic uncertainty, and the right to be wrong, the right to fail in order to achieve something of noticeable value. "