I’ve eaten more bananas than the hungriest chimp and drunk more coffee in two weeks than I normally do in a year, and now I’m on my sofa, pretending hard that writing a blog is more important than, say, finding a way to earn some money, or doing something constructive like my two weeks of washing, or answering day job emails. (Day job! PAH! If I have learned anything, it is that music is the job.)
To add to the prevailing surreality, I spent the weekend in between the last two gigs at a marketing and sales conference. After the last pitch-fest I went off and did another gig in a totally different scene-and ended up in a big sing-song in a lovely venue by the water in Dundalk called The Spirit Store. I’m generally a great believer in putting yourself in random situations; you have much more to learn from people who are maybe on paper unlike you than among your usual crowd. Being in a conference where the whole aim is to improve your earning capacity highlighted to me how earning money isn’t the most important thing amongst the artist/musician community I normally hang out with. There’s nothing wrong with either perspective, but if you feel squeamish about the idea of earning loadsamoney, you probably won’t; and as cashflow is a common issue with musicians, investigating any unhelpful beliefs around money (eg, it can turn you into an idiot; it’s greedy to want it; your creativity might dwindle; it causes arguments and divisions-there are loads of hidden associations we can have with money that are not very helpful to the mission of accumulating any.) Likewise, as a musician you have to confront your beliefs about your own value/worth if you’re ever going to convince anyone else to pay you. It’s so easy to take a passive attitude to your own life, and to think of yourself responding to possibilities rather than instigating them.
So in an attempt to retain this focus and consider carefully how the mindsets we cultivate affect what our experience is, today I’ve been tweaking my freelancer website in order to get some work as a solo performer for hotels etc doing folk/trad/swingrepertoire-I’ve been thinking about it for ages but hadn’t quite got around to doing it-was possibly waiting until I was ‘ready’ ‘good enough’ ‘knew enough tunes’ etc.
Whenever I hear someone playing something amazing on an instrument, I usually have a temporary desire to learn it; and when I go somewhere awesome I immediately want to go and live there; so I did feel a bit gloomy heading away from Ireland. But hopefully I can return with a banging new album in 2014 :).
So the main lesson from all this is that there is an audience for what I’m doing with the music; and I am going to give that as much as I can and stop imagining that I can somehow fit it in round boring things that I don’t enjoy even if I can execute them competently, which aren’t even especially lucrative, that I have somehow allowed myself to be semi-taken over by in some kind of weird self-restricting way. I’m going to focus on finishing material for a fourth studio album even if I have no idea how such a thing could be financed yet. And I’ll leave you with some pics of the gorgeous autumn views in Ireland and Scotland-see if you can tell the difference.