So I guess this is my end of year update. How a whole year has gone by already I really don’t know!
In that year, I self-released my first album, ‘Black Feather Wooden Chair’.
Which also got some kickass reviews (you can read them on the side–>) as well as making it onto the Tom Robinson show on BBC radio.
For that I’ll be truly grateful the rest of my life as I expected NOTHING.
Warning: the following contains thoughts, experiences and some frustrations I’ve encountered in that time but is in no way moaning. I could have worked harder to do certain things but in one way I was too scared of failure which for me is the monster under the bed I always have to try my hardest to fight.
2016 will be better because I will work on my anxieties a bit more and try and overcome, as I’ve always been taught to do but never found easy.
I remember, over a freezing December, I actually got the shipment of CDs earlier than I’d worried I would, and could covet them for a few weeks before they went on sale.
At the same time, my job situation continued to break down and freelance work wasn’t forthcoming.
It was a gut-wrenching time with what felt like a very black and white outcome. I’d either get successful or I’d die from the heartbreak.
Yes, I do tend to live in extremes of emotional states. It’s a thing
I was so intent with knowing I’d been building up to this for over a year, that it felt like it was everything to me. To have success and be able to do this full time was something I just didn’t want to think about because it really meant too much but at the same time, it was ALL I could think about and hope for.
I had a crisis of confidence and it wasn’t until a friend told me to get my head out of bum and hustle the shit out of things, that I even really started to understand what making it in the industry is about.
Even though I did it the wrong way round – I released an album before I’d secured PR or a manager or anything, I hoped that the work would speak for itself.
I booked gig after gig, hoping to sell CDs, get good reviews and radio coverage and build on it all but then I ran into a problem – money.
The album had cost me a few thousand pounds and I wanted to earn some money back, also so that I could afford PR (another few grand) and give it the push I thought it deserved.
I don’t really know how 6 months have gone by in a blink of an eye with only one gig to really show for it and most definitely no PR but I’m a little…antsy to get back on it again.
I have to say though that it’s entirely my fault in that I couldn’t figure out how to do more of the business side of things whilst balancing the rest of my life.
The money isn’t so much of an issue any more, but am already looking at album #2’s recording costs and thinking, maybe I should focus on that.
I guess in this modern world of hustling your wares, if you’re not a natural born hustler, when the world doesn’t owe you shit, you’ll get rolled under the wheels if you don’t make EVERYTHING about the sell no matter how un-British and distasteful it may feel.
Amanda Palmer and her art of asking is definitely one of the better ways to think about that hustle. I love the way she calls it an exchange – because that’s the bit I’m not great at. The looking someone in the eye I think is integral to the experience, and I’ve only really just started to realize its importance and that no matter how completely uncomfortable it makes me, I owe it to my audience to open up.
I’ve also started a new band, an outlet for the more epic grungy shoegaze side of my tastes. We’re taking baby steps and only have a few rough demos out but feel free to go listen and comment! We all feel pretty good about this and it’s brought the fun back into just playing music that we love. Also, I am playing bass as well which is a singular challenge and certainly makes a change from the ukuele.
I’ve also been trying to think how I can earn some money doing music – I haven’t recouped my album costs, because I’ve not paid for PR to really push it, and my diaspora of fans means I can’t fill out shows yet.
Money -that dirty word- it would just afford me the peace of mind to go into a cave and create, create, create which is what I so desperately want to do so I can connect to people the best way I know how.
2016 will be all about finding a better balance for me with music I hope, and fully getting to grips with my exchange rate.
Good luck in your endeavours too, if you’re struggling with your creativity, please know you are not alone but DO keep going.