“The mind is a soft boiled potato,” sings David Byrne on his new album. As the lyric suggests, Byrne’s own brain is often powered by sideways tangents. It would be a mistake to pigeonhole David Byrne. Best known as lead singer and principal songwriter of Talking Heads, the 66-year-old resists categorization—with pleasure. He is an Oscar-winning film composer, a collaborator with Robert Wilson and Fatboy Slim, a bike-rack designer, and, more recently, creator of a virtual reality piece inspired by neuroscience research. In his spare time, he curates the website Reasons to Be Cheerful, a repository for positive things happening around the world that can be reproduced elsewhere. In March, he released American Utopia, his first solo album in 14 years. It has since taken him on a massive international tour, during which he is surely discovering more ideas to fuel his optimism. Before he embarked, Byrne sat down in New York City to discuss a heady array of topics, from This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Eight Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Music Issue 20 Bring It on Home: Leon Bridges From bussing tables to playing at the White House in under two years, Leon Bridges has no plans to part ways with his humble beginnings. Arts & Culture Music Issue 21 Variations on Solitude: Glenn Gould Three decades since his death, Canadian pianist Glenn Gould’s inner life endures with as much legend as his recordings. Arts & Culture Music Issue 22 Esperanza Spalding Esperanza Spalding continues to challenge expectations and classifications—particularly her own. Design Issue 22 Philippe Malouin Canadian designer Philippe Malouin shares his way to beat beating around the bush. Arts & Culture Music Rosie Lowe London-based singer Rosie Lowe talks to us about creative recharging, the power of songwriting and the vulnerability inherent in live performance.