It’s January 2023 and this is my first day of “crashing”. 2022 was spent conquering fears, daring greatly and making myself vulnerable. Posting countless videos of myself singing after losing my confidence and slowly rebuilding my songwriting, releasing my first EP and other little victories (I guess).
Lockdown was a game changer for many people, acting as a kick up the ass to look at, evaluate and question our lives and choices. I started writing again after 10-years of creative block and at the age of 45 started releasing music. So many voices yelling “No, what are you doing, who is going to listen, who cares, just focus on your day job” etc etc.
This morning I woke up feeling heavy, teary and oppressed. The reason is NUMBERS. I give advice to students “Don’t compare yourself to others, it only makes you feel rubbish and isn’t a reflection of your worth and where you are at, what you are doing”. Today wasn’t about comparing myself BUT even after putting the inner work in, feeling grateful, positive about what I have achieved, a culmination of constantly being bombarded by numbers – the number of streams, likes, shares, comments, fans, followers, subscribers, I just crashed. It is so brutal. On the one hand it’s perspective – numbers can look like you are in credit or depending on your mental health and energy levels, they can feel reductive and oppressive. This morning they are the latter.
I get it numbers give a “reading” of how your songs or art or whatever it is you create, are being engaged with (I hate that word), and are a quick snapshot of your popularity and success. However, there is so much more behind these numbers that the viewer on the surface doesn’t know and doesn’t care to know. It’s this that I am struggling with. My questions today are:
How do you balance giving your art the effort, nurture and attention it needs, being your authentic, vulnerable self, working as hard as you need to, whilst ensuring your soul and spiritual self are intact? I feel swallowed up by the black hole that is the music industry.
With all the best intentions – meditation, sleep, healthy eating, rest etc, I am still floored today. Despite working harder than ever, creating high quality “content”, I feel that there are less opportunities and I am poorer than I’ve ever been. I am standing by myself in a dark, desolate place, with no audience, no feedback and no support. It’s at times like these that you question things.
I’m wondering if most artists feel like this or it’s just that shadowy half of me that clouds me, flips everything over and suddenly I’m living in minus numbers, in debt, rather than in credit and achievement. It’s all perspective then?