Putting The Pieces Together
Hey friends, a little update from the lab. As you may know, I'm knee deep in writing for my second album and have been keeping things fairly quiet on the show front for the last little while. As I continue to bring in the next harvest of songs, I've also decided to record an EP in the short-term to fulfill my desire to maintain creative momentum and in the spirit of living like there's no tomorrow. There are songs which are already complete that I want to capture and share while they're still fresh and I'm thankful to have the opportunity to record these songs with a few friends and some of the most inspiring people I've met along the way. The pre-production is already underway and I'm beginning to feel the excitement and anticipation as our first day of tracking approaches. There is no doubt that recording music is one of the most sacred parts of the creative process for me and it's an experience that I've to come regard as a privilege. More to come on the recording in the weeks ahead. As for the writing, it's going well but I must admit, it's been humbling me in a lot of ways too. I'm learning what it means to be a beginner all over again as I have challenged myself to expand my vocabulary as a guitar player, songwriter and vocalist. This has meant some frustrating days where I'm not quite where I want to be. There have also been some very rewarding steps forward in the direction of being the artist I envision myself to be and finding new ways to express the passion for life and music that lives inside me.
One aspect of this has been picking up an electric guitar for essentially the first time since I started playing music. It's been acoustic guitar for me from the outset and though I had a brief dance with a Strat a few years ago, it didn't go very far at all. This time around, I took the time to find the right guitar and it didn't take long before I fell in love with a cherry red semi-hollow Epiphone that has made its way into my heart and my small stable of guitars.
Playing Roxie (that's her name) has been opening up alot of new avenues for me creatively and sonically, and has also resulted in different approaches vocally. I'm pushing my boundaries more as a singer, tapping into a more raw and gritty energy when I sing and it feels good. At the same time, I continue to write and enjoy the more mellow, heart wide open songs that I have always gravitated towards. Something tells me that those songs will always come. It's really the balance of both that leaves me feeling most fulfilled and I will always exercise the freedom to write each song as its own entity without being limited to one style, one sound, or one genre. As I continue to work on my musicianship, explore uncharted territory and craft a new batch of tunes, I'm being challenged on many levels and I'm happy that I have found this blank page to get some of that out and share it with the few of you that end up reading this.
Above all, I am being challenged by the inherent dichotomy of being extremely passionate about something and the importance of being unattached to outcome in my artistic endeavors. This has been particularly prevalent in my quest to write songs that are both honest and creatively satisfying, all the while knowing in the back of my mind that my greatest desire is to share these songs with the world and have them connect with people. What I'm learning is that the two things, though inseparable in many ways must be distinguished at the time of creation. That is to say that when I sit down and play or pick up my pen to write, it's really only about one thing: tuning into to what my highest self wants or even better, needs to express and saying it as authentically and purely as I can.
The rest is of no concern which includes how good or bad it is; who, if anyone is going to like it and most of all, if or how it will impact my career. These kinds of questions are what I have come to believe are like poison to the creative process and the best antidotes, I have found, are consistency and purity of intention. Showing up to the blank page, picking up my guitar, singing as much as I can and as often as I can, with no end goal in mind, just because it's what I love to do. Whatever happens is good with me and the more I practice this, the easier it gets. And of course, it is from this space that the best stuff has been coming out. A melody here, a lyric there. The other things I've been doing which have greatly benefited my songwriting are painting and writing. With these art forms, there is no pressure, simply childlike, unfettered expression and this has allowed me to keep the creative taps open when they would otherwise want to shut tight. Here are a few of my first masterpieces ;)
In all of this, I am being constantly reminded of the analogy between songwriting and putting together a puzzle. The songs come together one piece at a time and I have been able to take comfort in the fact that every day, every sitting, I'm collecting new pieces and every now and then, putting one in its right place, knowing that the day will come when I have many beautiful finished puzzles to delight in. There is much work still to be done but I am happy to report that my creativity is very much alive and I am enjoying the exploration, the adventure and the adversity.
In all of this, I have also been reminded of the greater picture. Music is one of the great loves of my life but there is certainly much more to life than music and I am truly thankful for the amazing life I have. There is love all around me, I am alive and healthy, and I am more at peace than I have ever been.
All is well.