The question that’s so loaded for Mee…”What do you do?”
That always stumps me, it does! I’m still not comfortable saying I’m a singer song writer, because I am so much more than that.
I’d like to say, “I’m an Artist”, so convincingly and really own it, but that stumps me too.
I worry about people’s reactions and judgements. “Ooh how lovely! What’s your art?”
Well how do I answer that….This is what I would like to say.
I have dedicated my entire life, since leaving home at 17, to study the self. I have studied with the greats, Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus, Ala, Louise Hay, Abraham Hicks, the higher self, the great mystery and spiritual unknown. I have delved deeper into the never-ending abyss that is my mind, heart and soul about every topic life had to throw at me. For the soul purpose of learning how to apply compassion and wisdoms in life to better not just my human experience but the rest of humanities too. Life threw some curve balls, disease, healthy relationships, relationship break ups, conception, pregnancy, birth, motherhood, fatherhood, the family court system, pain, heartache, hate, depression, suffering, loss, hope, faith etc etc.
During my life, poetry, lyrics and melody, seemed to arrive in my head and heart without me consciously deciding to sit down and try. Sure sometimes I have worked on a song and refined it, but generally it is not something I remember choosing. For fear of sounding full of myself, I have felt chosen and compelled to express these songs and share them with who ever so shall listen.
I have tried to do the norm to just bring in the money, countless jobs that never lasted more than a year. Barclays insurance clerk, teaching assistant, gardner, butcher, live in care giver, check out girl, bar tender, coffee barrister, you name it…all the while I scribbled furiously in my lunch breaks and coffee breaks into my poetry pads, to capture the loop of songs in my head, that would otherwise be playing endlessly. Once on paper and created into “a thing”, they stop playing in my head and I become emptied and ready for the new to be received. It might seem like a curse sometimes for some, (a but like schizophrenia) but I often experience my world and immediate experience in song. Really if you lived a day in my mind you’d be living in your own private musical.
So at a turning point in my life, after realising that music was always on the back burner and I always had a plan B in action never allowing myself to fully commit to being a musical artist, I never had the guts to fully immerse myself in putting the music first, thereby never really giving it a fighting chance. So I decided to turn the tables after years of denial and fear and focus on it whole heartedly.
Brave you might say? Lucky maybe? But the feelings that rise in me are delusional. It’s difficult enough being self employed without having to bare your soul to the surrounding world and say here I am exposed and in the flesh. When I am in full swing creation I am super high and happy, occupied and sure of myself, inspired with positive action. I know the cliche that we all have ups and downs, but when I am low it’s during periods of inaction or calms before the storm of reinvention, worrying of the future and lack of recognition of army work.
Most recently I decided to go completely solo working only with a producer, I have always created my songs solo, perhaps delivering them to a band and rehearsing, but performing solo is something I have done very little of. I’ve most always had a guitar, or piano and when I just had my voice, I found that the audience was most engaged. No distractions, no pretence or hiding behind something or someone, just stripped back, a human being with all insecurities and doubts exposed and open for ridicule. That’s been my most exhilarating times.
So in the last 3 years my artistry involves the following…
Condensing my life’s work of song catching, into digestible chapters, grouping them in to common Humanitarian themes.
This very quickly became 6 albums of songs. THE MIND, LOVE AND LUST, CONFLICT, NONSENSE, FAMILY, DEATH and more songs being born every week, the most recent album on WINTER.
This is what “I do” or “have done” at certain times…
I set about recording about 15 songs per album. Creating 2 CD’s worth of album artwork.
This meant, having a visual vision of expressing the content, becoming a production team project, budgeting, managing groups of people to help make that a reality. Making vision boards to share and discuss with professionals, prop sourcing or prop making, set designing, employing make up artists, photographers, graphic designers, communicating website maintenance, sourcing printers, printing, speaking to music producers, mastering, visiting Abbey Roads, getting in contact with management companies, entering song competitions, running 3 bands, firing said bands with boring bridges or offending, going solo and no reinventing the sound, endless daily hours of rehearsing, choreographing, drafting stage banter, hiring venues, employing sound engineers, paying the band every single time, organising band rehearsals, managing band members, promoting gigs, printing and designing flyers, contacting radio stations newspapers magazines. Always working from 9am-2.30pm and 9pm-11pm most days. Working every other weekend and thinking and plotting like an all consuming think tank 24/7.
The term Artist means; “A person who practises or performs any of the creative arts.” But there’s so much more to it, than that as you can see above.
My false belief is that our success is measured by our monetary profit and so in social situations I immediately assume that others must see me as a failure, because I have only turned a loss every year. Which means I see myself through their eyes, saying ‘artist’ meaning, ‘lower than working class’, because you couldn’t even call it work, it’s a luxury being funded by the goodness of my loved ones hearts. When I look at other artists I feel worse, I see them as competitors and peers doing seemingly much better and being much more successful. I must be selfish and self absorbed, scared of committing to an honest days graft, a cop-out for not doing a meaningful job that can tangibly be proved. I still have super low days where I think, “what’s the point” what if I stopped doing what I am doing? Would anybody really care, probably not, everyone’s wrapped u in their own busy lives, which is fine. …bla blu bla, the voices in my head are relentless with this ilk of shite.
So I try to counter all these false beliefs, by looking at my achievements and seeing how much I have created and made available to the world, for sharing. I try not to measure myself and create for creations sake, perhaps somewhere, somehow, a line or melody has stuck with someone, meant something, given comfort, food for thought. Much like a good novel, or a beautiful painting or a friendly chat, that can move or stir something profound in someone’s soul. I hope that I am paving the way for other people (especially my children) to follow their passions, regardless of social norms.
Who is really listening? My soul and the divine mystery are and thanking me for expressing life in my own way everyday.
Even if anyone wasn’t listening I would still be compelled to do what i do, because It is and always has been my way of coping with life. My free therapy. And I am extremely proud of myself at how I have met life’s challenges. I could have easily, become a bitter, resentful hating, blaming person, but I chose instead to find freedom in daily forgiveness, saying sorry, accepting responsibility for other people’s harmful behaviour to be a direct mirror of how I could better improve myself to be a kinder more loving human being.
So I guess, the next time someone asks me…”what do you do?” I’ll tell them this…
“I express life, as compassionately, responsibly and lovingly as possible, finding a fun and creative way to share it with as many people as possible.” (Bit of a mouthful but that’s my truth).