Over the past year or so, my music has started to evolve and take new steps. I’ve met and started working with some incredible people from all over the world. I’ve finally been able to step foot into a studio again and legitimately record songs that i’m proud of. I’ve had some great shows, and made moves that hopefully help move me in the direction I’m heading.
With all that being said. It’s also been a challenging year mentally. I have felt like I was under so much pressure, I’ve been stressed beyond belief, and have felt honestly quite shitty about what was happening around me. (Don’t worry, im not trying to make this a pity party lol).
I could hardly sit down and write a song anymore because I was so focused on making it sound like a country hit. I grew up listening to all kinds of genres, and love to sing different styles. If I want to sit down one day and write a jazz, or pop, or funk song; then nothing should be stopping me. Why was I putting myself in such a small box?
On top of that, I’ve really only just planted my feet in the doors. I haven’t even officially put music out there yet! I felt pressure because of that. I felt like everything had to be perfect, or I would fail and embarrass myself. I was so scared of making mistakes that I wouldn’t even take a small step.
I wanted so badly to impress my peers. I wanted to prove to everyone they doubted me that I could do this. I wanted to know that I was doing a good job and that other industry people were going to take me seriously. Sounds dumb right? Well honestly, that’s how I felt. For the last year I was making music to appease everyone else but me….
What shifted my mind was recently, I got to go on a wonderful vacation with my loving family to Cuba. Honestly, at first, I was really sceptical to go; because I didn’t want to take any time or money away from my music career. I felt SO guilty about taking a week off and shift my priorities. I felt as though every last second, and every last dime I get should be going towards music.
I was wrong. What I learned on this trip was more than just a fun family vacation, it was an awakening.
The culture in Cuba, specifically where I was staying, was so passionate about the arts. It was truly inspiring. You could see the amazing, positive energy coming from all the performers. The way they danced, they way they sang, and the way everyone came together for the love of the arts. Everyone just seemed like they were there because they loved their craft, and wanting to share their passion with people.
I also had some great conversations with my aunt and uncle Rebecca Hennessy and Michael Herring. (If you are reading this hey guys, love ya lots 😉 ) They are two incredible jazz musicians based in Toronto. They have both done so many amazing things in their field, all while staying very humble. They certainly inspire me in so many ways and very much put me into perspective about what is important.
What I mainly noticed while away, was that I had forgotten the reason why I started music in the first place. I had been so caught up in trying to write perfect country songs, how to get the next big show, how to make money to support my music, and dealing with a million different peoples opinions on what the think is best for me.
I lost sight that the whole damn reason i’m even doing this career is because I freaking love making and performing music! Not to prove myself to anyone else, but me. I’m not in this industry to get a top 10 radio hit, or the glamor of morning show interviews, I’m in it to make damn good music and perform the hell out of those songs to the people that want to listen.
My lesson learned is this. Don’t forget the reason WHY you start something. Whether it’s going to the gym, eating healthy, moving to a new city or like myself, making music. Remember why it was important. Remember why it inspired you. Remember why it brings you joy.
When I started understanding these reasons again, I gained so much clarity about my goals. It’s easier to enjoy the journey rather than stress about the end game.