AOL: You've collaborated with Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint and now Leon Russell. How do you adapt your songwriting style when composing with others?
Costello: I've had plenty of opportunity to write the song just the way I hear it and continue to have that. If somebody doesn't like the way my song sounds, they can listen to another song. That's fine. I'm writing the songs that I write for the people that want to listen to them. Some of these people I could have never dreamed of meeting, more or less writing with. It's extraordinary that if you tell me I was going to write 12 songs with Burt Bacharach and 12 songs with Paul McCartney when I was starting out, much less when I was a kid, you were crazy. They couldn't have come from my ambition; they had to come from a chance encounter leading to collaboration. Inside that collaboration is not just the experience of working and getting to know those people and the fun that you have recording songs together because even the most sorrowful songs can be a joy to work on. There's also a lot of accidental education. I didn't get a proper education in music, so I just picked it up as I went along. You really can't do much better than watching Burt Bacharach write, working with Paul McCartney. Everybody I've worked with its all collaborative music.
AOL: What has been the biggest lesson learned while hosting your own TV show, 'Spectacle'?
Costello: If there was one thing I took out of it, it was the opportunity to place in context some of the people that I had loved for 40 years and for whatever reason hadn't been widely heard. Somebody like Jesse Winchester, who stole the show when he was on, even though he was in the company of great songwriters like Ron Sexsmith and popular singers like Sheryl Crow and Neko Case. They all contributed to the show, but Jesse's song was the thing that absolutely stopped everybody. If I'm asked about one single performance in the two seasons of them, it's his performance, which was one of the most modest, intimate performances you can imagine.
-- Gaylord Fields