The Art Beat: How was your experience with the Katrina Donation Challenge? You raised over $210,000 for charity and you made hundreds of personal thank-you calls.

Brian Wilson: It was a wonderful experience for me. It was filled with love. I really got into talking with my fans. I was very surprised so many people took us up on the challenge. Great work by so many people.

AB: What’s the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

BW: The love and support of my family is always the best gift. We do a big dinner on Christmas Eve and invite lots of family and friends. I think that’s my best gift. Since Melinda and I have been married, we have made it a Wilson tradition.

AB: How does the creative process work for you? Do you spend regular hours on the piano each day practicing or do melodies come to you at unexpected times?

BW: They come at unexpected times. One thing I have learned is that I cannot force a song. It comes from God and he shows up when he wants to. It kind of just flows through me somehow. It’s a weird trip and hard to explain.

AB: How do you mentally prepare yourself for a live performance?

BW: I just pep talk myself, because I still experience stage fright until about the third song into the set. I love it once the jitters subside. It’s so cool having so many people dig what I do.

AB: What’s your favorite song?

BW: It depends on the day you ask me, but today, I would say “God Only Knows.”

AB: Where do you find inspiration nowadays for your music?

BW: My wife Melinda and my little kids Daria, Delanie and Dylan inspire me. They make me feel safe and loved and from that comes all sorts of inspiration.

AB: What advice would you give to young musicians who want to be singer-songwriters?

BW: My advice would be to never give up, just keep on truckin’ and work hard and the rest will come.

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