For Julien Christian Lutz, “work” looks like many different things, depending on the day. Previously known as “Director X” the filmmaker, artist and veteran music director is best known for being the creative genius behind music videos for artists such as Drake, Rihanna, Future, Ariana Grande and the Black Eyed Peas.
With multiple awards under his belt and a portfolio of artists resembling a who’s who of the North American music scene, Lutz’s artistic legacy both at home in Toronto and globally is undeniable.
But there have been some big bumps in the road along the way: A nightclub shooting on New Year’s Day in 2015 left him lying in a hospital with a bullet in his side. That’s when Lutz began thinking about the neurological and social factors that lead to violence – and how meditation can help.
He has since become an advocate for the powers of meditation, and in 2019 founded Operation Prefrontal Cortex, a grassroots initiative designed to reduce Toronto’s gun violence through mindfulness and meditation.
The 47-year-old, who was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in December, spoke with The Globe about the power of meditation, what he does in his free time and the project of his dreams.
How often do you meditate?
I meditate every morning, unless I have an appointment that I have to get to. If I don’t fall down the social media trap, I’ll sit up in my bed and meditate, and then I’ll journal. Fifteen minutes meditation and then 10 to 15 minutes journaling.
How crucial is meditation, especially for young people in a city like Toronto, who may feel like they don’t have those avenues to centre themselves?
It’s essential. We need to really get into the idea that meditation is brain exercise. In the same way you have to be physically active, you have to meditate. It’ll change everything. If I could go back in time and make myself meditate, a great deal of my other issues would go away.
What’s an issue that you think you could have healed if you knew about meditation earlier?
Everything. I was just a young guy with lots of anger, and everything would have been better if I knew about meditation. If I could go back in time and tell myself one thing, that would be it. And the earlier the better.
Is there a particular meditation that you enjoy most or an app that helps you get started?