My Mind

Hello readers!

Last time I wrote, I was speaking about my first show and my experience at Outside Lands. This week, my blog post focuses on what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been struggling to do this past month. It will be a lot about my state of mind, my goals, my worries all of that. So get ready because here it comes!

After the success of my show, I took the time to celebrate and appreciate all that had been done to make the show as great as it was. After what felt like 20 minutes, I went right back into my over-thinking process and started my “what now?” phase. I wondered what my next steps would be, what I would be working on next, where I am at in life, when I would start getting this show on the road (literally and figuratively), how I was going to put out content, etc. You can say that I tend to over-everything; think, analyze, you name it I over-do it. That is a true fact. But I thoroughly enjoy being prepared and having a plan to follow so that I know what needs to be done immediately and what can be held off on so that I can achieve my maximum greatness. When I don’t have a plan, I tend to fall apart at the seams. This is rare for me because being the over-everything type of person I am, I usually have a plan plus a minimum of 4 back-ups. But since the show, this has kind of been my place, wondering aimlessly without a plan…except replace wondering aimlessly with constantly freaking out. I have been working to come up with a plan but I haven’t quite put my finger on what exactly I want to do next. I have been switching my short-term and long-term goals every few days because there is something new that I think I want or something I feel should be pushed back until another is completed. This has caused me to literally go crazy.

I think a main reason why I have no plan and no structure in my life is because I am currently not involved in an institution. I have been in a school setting since the age of 2, meaning I am used to scheduling classes and working around those classes to fit in a part-time job and extra-curricular activities. Because I have just recently graduated from college, and have yet to be hired for a full-time position, there is a lot of uncertainty in my schedule. There are periods where there is a lot of downtime but then all of a sudden an opportunity will present itself and take up my time for weeks which then completely alters my plans and leaves me scrambling to make a new one. Sudden changes like that cause planners like me a lot of stress. I know you’re probably thinking “Learn to adjust to the flow during this period. Use your downtime to write and perform while applying for jobs and taking care of your other responsibilities. When you schedule suddenly includes more than before, decide what your priorities are and focus on those." Yes that is true, and I promise I am trying. There is just so much I feel is supposed to get done and be a priority in my life that I struggle to make time for it all. As a human being and as an "adult", there are so many expectations that you are to uphold. Taking care of your expenses, working, getting enough exercise and sleep, having some form of a social life, etc. When you add a musician's expectations to that list, performing, creating, collaborating, etc., it becomes a lot to handle and for a planner like me, a lot to plan/work into a schedule that is already pretty full. This is no excuse this is just a roadblock I have seemed to run into during this month.

This isn't the only roadblock I've run into in my life and in my artistry. One recurring issue I have is writing. For some reason my mind shuts down as soon as it is given the task of coming up with a melody. I have all of the ideas for songs and I can write books on the topics, but I can’t seem to tell the story in a three minute song. Well, it’s not that I can’t, it is just extremely difficult. I tend to be a person who struggles with being concise because I fear that someone will not pick up what I'm putting down. That leads me to over-explain, over-analyze, over-think, the list can go on. And I tend to get frustrated because it comes so easily to most people around me. I have so much that I want to say and sometimes that is my downfall. I’m so busy stressing and getting annoyed when I’m trying that rarely anything good comes of it. I have been trying to work on that. I have been pushing myself to write down all that I want to say no matter the length and then go back and read through it, choosing lines that I see potential in and feel would be a good fit for a song. I also have been attempting to listen to tracks and record melodies that come to mind. I am trying all of these techniques to improve my songwriting because I want to be so much better than I am so if you have any suggestions, please comment below because I could really use the help!

Besides my roadblocks, I have had a few other things running through my mind, mostly relating to what I want to bring to the table as a musician. As an artist, one of my main goals is to get my message across. When I plan for shows, I spend a large amount of time on choosing the set-list and making sure it’s the right fit for me and for the audience that I am getting ready to perform for. That is why I have shied away from involving myself in shows; because I feared the set-list I made was not one that fit me well or one that represented what I stand for. The same goes for my writing. When I begin to write, I fear the message will be misconstrued or that I am not saying exactly what I want to say because I am focused on rhyme scheme or it fitting in the melody I have come up with. I am so adamant about saying what I mean and saying it in a way where it will not be misunderstood. Because of this, it takes a lot of work to stop second-guessing my set/my music. I am one who knows exactly what I want, I just struggle to find the perfect route to get there and because I am a perfectionist, the process is the most important part to me. Again, this is the over-thinker speaking. And I know, I should let up on myself a bit especially with the perfection aspect. I just want to give my absolute best and not have any regrets in doing so. It's an uphill battle I'm fighting against myself and hopefully it will ease up and get better.

The other thing I want to bring to the table in my artistry is an overall better performance. I do not think that I am a bad performer. I feel as though there are things that I envision myself doing during a performance that never come across on stage. I noticed this most while watching my show back. As I watched, there was so much that I wanted to improve on and felt could set the show apart from the rest that just wasn't there. The way I perform currently is not the way that I want to stay or the way I want to be portrayed when being looked into as an artist. I want to sing perfectly while dancing and entertaining. I want to speak to the audience in a way that engages them and doesn't leave them to see me as "awkward" like I claim to always be. I want to have a show that leaves people in awe like the artists that have inspired me and left me with that same feeling; Beyonce, Travis Scott, Tina Turner, Bruno Mars just to name a few. Watching my show only inspired me to put on more shows so that I can grow accustomed to myself and the overall aspect of performing. This way, I can include all that I want/envision and all that I have seen from artists who inspire me to build up my performance ability and my career.

During this past month, these have been all of my inner battles that have been taking up space in my mind and heart. I don't see them as negative battles, but as obstacles that will only help my growth as a person and as a musician. I am appreciative of all that goes on in my life that makes me...me. And with all of this, I am choosing to take in each trial and victory that comes my way. 

Outside Lands/"Point to Prove" Show

These past two weeks have been filled with some fantastic experiences and life lessons that will truly make an impact on my music and my life in general. Through my own performance and the performances of other artists, I really started to think deeply about what I want to do and the type of artist that I want to be. There's so many things that I want to incorporate into my own performances and so many things that I want to steer clear of. A lot of these things came to my mind during two opportunities that I was blessed to have; my trip to Outside Lands in San Francisco, and my first show Point to Prove.

During the second week of August, I took a trip to my hometown, the beautiful Bay Area, for the Outside Lands festival. For this trip, I was acting as an artist manager, really focusing the backside of the business. Although most of my time was used to recognize the inner workings of putting on a festival, I took time to go see a bunch of different artists so I could see what they do before, during, and after performances. The line-up was filled with artists of all levels and there was no particular genre being focused on. The bill included a wide range of music from Solange to Metallica and literally everything in-between. I walked around the festival all three days and watched as each artist brought something to their set that truly set them apart from the rest. I watched how engaged the crowd was/was not and I tuned into the way that each artist performed their set. I saw so many things that were good and that kept a group of people wanting more but I also saw a number of performances that didn't live up to the standard I assumed there was for live shows. Seeing these really made me realize what I need for my own performances and what I should stay away from as an artist. It opened my eyes to how I should be conducting myself on and off stage and what all goes into live performance, specifically a live performance in a festival setting.

This was not the first festival that I attended this summer but it was definitely one of a kind. Each festival truly has a different vibe and way of conducting its business. None of them are incorrect ways of doing so but it was definitely eye-opening to see how people do things differently. It's another reminder that there is not just one right way of living and doing something. I have the ability and opportunity to do what I feel is the best thing for my career and travel the road that is the best fit for my goals. If it is meant to be I will have the success that I am working towards by following my own path.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I was given to travel and attend this festival and the others over this summer '17.

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A week ago today, I put on what I like to call my first show. Yes, I have had shows in the past and have had multiple performances, but this was the first time I was the sole performer and had a band to call my own, along with my ideas for the set and look of the show. It was a miraculous experience to showcase my best self. Just the simple thought of this show caused a lot of anxiety and stress for me for a lot of reasons. I wanted it to really represent me and the artist I am coming into. I wanted it to be an enjoyable experience for those watching and playing in my band. I wanted it to mean something and to explain just a piece of what goes on in my mind, heart, and spirit. And on top of that I just wanted it to look, sound, and be good. I worried about my song choices. I questioned if the band and my music director would understand what I was attempting to get across. I got nervous and sort of a sick feeling when something didn't go how I planned it to go. I wondered how I would be able to get on stage and make it through the show if I had all of these doubts and worries on my mind.

Over time, I forced myself to stop thinking so much because I knew exactly what I wanted and why I had chosen to do it. There was no need to stress myself out by overanalyzing every single thing that should've/could've/would've happened. That was not going to benefit me in any capacity. So I stopped. I began to trust myself and my decisions. I began to settle with everything that was going on and just took it one step at a time. When things went wrong, I took a deep breath and focused in on fixing the issues instead of stressing about it. Because eventually I understood that it would all work out exactly how it was supposed to. And that's exactly what it did.

My show turned out better than I could've ever imagined. Point to Prove was a success because I was being me. There were so many great parts to the show but there were three that really stood out to me:

1. People related to my Point to Prove title and purpose for the show. When coming up with a theme for the show, Point to Prove really stuck with me because I truly felt that I hadn't had the chance to really show others what I was capable of. Attending Berklee, I was only known for two things and neither of them were being a solo artist. I felt as though I had gotten through Berklee without exploring or honing in on my artistry. Since this was my first show as an artist and my last show at Berklee, it felt right to give my show this title. I wanted to give others some insight on me as an artist and to prove to them that I have the ability to perform on my own, to own a stage. I also wanted to prove to myself that I can take control of my anxiety and stress so that it doesn't interfere with my passion of performing.

There was a recent period of time that I would be too anxious to get on a stage. I would hyperventilate seconds before having to smile and sing for an audience and I couldn't figure out exactly why. It wasn't something that happened when I was younger, it seemed to just pop up randomly during my time in college. It really sucked to have that feeling and to not know how to manage it. To stress about it happening every time you had a show. So I worked on managing myself so that it wouldn't happen or happen less so that I could get to be the fearless performer that I so badly wanted to be. This show, although filled with plenty of opportunities to freak out and tense up, was one where I felt completely in control of myself and my emotions. It was definitely a moment of victory and I really do feel as though I proved my point to those in attendance, but most importantly to myself.

I think the reason so many related to the title was because they feel or have felt the same way especially those that attend/attended Berklee. Going to a top music school where everyone is great, it is easy to lose your way and to fall in the pit of self-criticism due to comparison. So it is not new feeling as though you have to constantly prove yourself to others to show that there is a reason why you belong. I hope that with my show, I made the point of it being okay to prove yourself but not constantly feeling or searching for the need of others approval. As long as you are proud and content with yourself and what you have to offer, your talent will shine through for others to see regardless if you set out to do so or not.

2. I had no nerves or stress. I was filled with excitement leading up to the show. I didn't get anxious because my soundcheck ran late, or because my hair wasn't finished. I wasn't worried about people not showing up. I was so excited to perform what I had prepared for the audience whether there was only 2 people or hundreds. I was so ready to prove this point that I felt I needed to prove, I didn't care how many received the message. Even if I was the only person to receive that message, I made someone believe in me and what I have to offer.

3. The amount of support that I had for this show was immense. I cried so much after the night was over because I couldn't believe the amount of love that was shown to me. I had such a beautiful crowd of people there and a large amount of people watching the live stream. I had over one hundred text messages from friends showing their love, a friend and former mentor stay in Boston for a day to come and check it out before heading back to Maine, and so many friends and artists that I look up to there to see me attempt to show my best self. I am still in disbelief. For all of those that were there in some way who are reading this, thank you. Your love and support is most definitely appreciated and noticed.

I have written way more than I ever intended to for this blog post but I really wanted to open up and share what I've been feeling about these experiences. I thank you for taking the time to read my entire post and I hope you enjoyed what you read!

If you are interested in reading a review of the show, (my first review yay!), check out the "Point to Prove" Review link on the top of this website. If you'd like, you can also ask questions or comment in the comments section below! I would love to interact with those following along.

 

Dalaun

 

Photo By: Ariff Danial

Photo By: Ariff Danial

Special thanks to the following people:

Band: Isaiah Carter (Music Director/Keys), RJ Walters (Keys/Aux), Miguel Diaz (Guitar), Christoff Glaude (Bass), Lajone "Jerrell" Campbell (Drums), Scott Bell (Trumpet), Daniel Szczepanski (Trumpet), Kevon Scott (Tenor Sax), Hoyt Parquet (Trombone), Austin Macasieb (Harp), Xenia Manasseh (BGVs), Rachel Gonzalez (BGVs), Tyler Pinder-Hudson (BGVs), Brandon Crichfield (BGVs), Niya Norwood (BGVs Music Director)

Hair/Make-Up Artist/Stylist/: Quam Kent

Photography/Videography: Quam Kent, Ariff Danial, Kevin Greene

Roger & Darla Holly, The Berklee Groove, Dominique Jones, Jeff Dorenfeld/Jeff Abruzzese/BPMI, Berklee Concert Operations, Berklee Video Services, Berklee College of Music

August 7th, 2017

I have decided to start blogging every other week about what is going on in my mind, with my music and just in my life in general. So here is the first official post! Here we go:

I have been having some really in-depth conversations with myself about what I want to do in life. What kind of music I want to create, the sound and vibe, the messages. I originally started this journey while starting to work on my first show which is surprisingly coming up in a week. I struggled to find the set I wanted to perform because I didn't know what I wanted to brand myself as. After long nights of thought, it became clear exactly what I want to do. I know what inspires me, the type of music that gives me feels, and all of the things I want to express when I decide to perform or put myself out there. Now whether that fits into a genre or style that has already been setup, I'm not sure...and that is a great thing. Because that means I'm not trying to fit into something already made. I'm being myself and whether it fits or not, I'll still be doing what I have been created to do.

Now that I have figured out what I'm going for with my music, I have started looking for a team to work with. I have been reaching out to producers and looking for the perfect fit. I also have been working with my stylist, Quam Kent, on my "image" (if you don't know who he is, get to know him because he's a man with an incredible vision, the skills to match, and a heart of gold). I've been working with other songwriters on ideas and I have been writing everyday just about my life experiences and my feelings because a song can and will be made about it all. I am starting all of this so that I can in the future create content that I am proud of and confident in. I don't want to rush this process so I won't put a timestamp on when it'll happen but I am determined to make it happen.

In the mean time, I have challenged myself to do a few things:

1) Write in a journal everyday about anything and everything going through my mind and in my life.

2)Write on this blog every other week to keep you all involved and to keep track of my progress throughout this journey.

3) Put out some form on content at least twice a month. Meaning originals, high-quality covers, crappy iPhone-recorded videos, live footage from shows, all of that. Something so that I'm putting myself out there. 

 

I think this is a good first post so I'll stop here! Thank you so much reading! Check back in on August 21st for the next!

 

<3

Dalaun

Come Back

Hello Everyone!

It's been a minute since I've been on here so here is an update:

I have been busy working on some music for you and I have a few originals that I'm really excited about! I am also working on putting out some new covers for you starting in June so be on the lookout for that. There will be a few shows coming up here in Boston too so if you happen to be in the area, keep checking in for official announcements.

Thank you for being patient with me! I am nervous but excited to be moving forward in my career with your support!

 

Welcome!

This is the official opening of my website and I am so excited to be sharing my upcoming projects with you here! I will be documenting as much as I can on this blog about my process to keep you all in the loop so keep checking back in. Thank you for your support!