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.