If you read a bit of my backstory when I shared 'The Cave' with you, then you'll know how unlikely that would have been, even 5 years ago. I also play a little bonus song for you too, I hope you like it 😊
So how did I reach this point of being able to share publicly (with you)? The rest of my story is below this video.
I had started recording an album (called Swoontide) with a quiet hope to eventually perform it so that it might have a better shot at reaching people. I was really unsure how my music could even translate in a live setting. I don’t have a band and so I slowly started experimenting with backing tracks and committed to practicing daily. Then out of the blue I was invited to support Lisa O’Neill in Sheffield. I knew if I didn’t say yes to this I never would.
For the whole month leading up to the gig I was in a permanent state of fight or flight. My nervous system was totally frazzled. I frantically went down several YouTube rabbit holes trying to learn as many exercises and mental tricks I could employ to lessen the terror. I’ve never been so scared in my whole life.
During this time I also started to explore the possible origins of my irrational fear. As with most issues, the root stemmed back to childhood. I was a very nervous kid due to certain events from those tender first few years. I think the messages I received very early on were that the world was a threatening place, people are scary and the best chance of survival is to be invisible and hide away. It’s something I still have to push against.
So I went to Sheffield and somehow dragged myself up onto the stage. My body disowned me for most of it. I couldn’t calm the shakes and it felt as though I was singing and being strangled simultaneously. The whole thing passed by in an adrenaline fog and to this day I really can't be sure how it went. It certainly wasn't a triumphant, ‘a star is born’ kind of moment but I was incredibly proud to have mustered the courage.
I think shifting my perspective from self focus to one of connection made a huge difference. Also training my brain to not be so caught up with seeking validation externally but instead working on cultivating a more accepting attitude towards myself, unreliant on others, was a real boon.
I would love to report that this gig rid me of my anxieties but alas, they remained pretty undiminished. Having witnessed myself being brave however, ignited a determination in me to try and be so more often. The journey out of fear has been a tedious trudge for the most part but every so often my efforts would be rewarded. I started to say yes to opportunities and gigs, and in a very daring moment I emailed Trapped Animal Records to see if they might be interested in my new album. It caught their ear and the rest is history as they say.
I think everyone has some kind of dragon to face within themselves. Initially I went at mine sword swinging, but I have come to realize that the dragon doesn’t have to be slain. I can befriend the troublesome, shadowy parts of myself and learn to live alongside them. In doing so I’ve been able to carry my music to the crucial final stage, the point where it reaches an audience. They (you) complete the creative cycle. Hopefully other people can find some pieces of themselves within the songs. All these years of hiding away starved me of that important link up.
Sharing my music with you has been so rewarding; I really hope it moves you 😊
See you out there on the road,