Sometimes when we are about to embark on a new chapter or phase of life it is good to pause for a moment, before rushing headlong into the next event. It is helpful to take a slow moment, take stock, evaluate and above all be grateful for what and whom has lead one to this new point. I am at that moment.
In two weeks time a new chapter in my development as a songwriter will hopefully spring into being ( hoping for no covid spanners in the works). Funded through the Do It Differently grant from Help Musicians Uk, I go in to the studio in London, to record with my band, Karuna, and International Producer Stevan Krakovic, my song “Tipping Point” about the environmental climate crisis. There is also a side B to this single, “Shape of Water” which looks at the qualities we need to be developing in this horizon of upheaval and uncertainty our shifting world presents.
So, I embark on this new chapter which I hope, will bring strands of interest and other developments that will come about through doing this recording . For a moment I wish to just savour where I am at and practice the delightful contemplation of gratitude for all the components and people that have been part of this journey so far.
I am probably in danger of becoming a stuck record when I say that a songwriter is not an island unto herself……and this is particularly true for my own creative journey. Others are an integral necessity to my developing artistic journey. All musicians need collaborators but my need for others are these: I don’t play an accompanying instrument, I live extremely rurally in a field in Scotland, I have all the older adult responsibilities of a family and the demands my own micro business . I am an older, rural, low income woman with a disability embarking on ,what is already in your twenties with band mates around you ,a precarious shape shifting path.
Each one of my achievements as a singer songwriter requires not only my own creativity, ability to organise and plod relentlessly on my own but also the input of others. I need others to collaborate with, share ideas, create instrumentation, produce and record my work. I need others to photograph and video our work and PR to make it visible. I need others to encourage me when the field of opportunity is hazy and uncertain or I can’t see the wood for the trees. I need others to help me because of my disability, fill in grant forms, navigate and do I.T and work in the digital world. I need others to listen to my music recorded or performed and respond to my musical fundraising initiatives. I need other to improve my singing technique for performance. I need others, like grant agencies, to help me by being my patron in a financial sense. I need others to encourage me when the going gets tough and it all feels somewhat impossible.
This is a whole lot of othering! It all sounds a bit needy- but it is an honest assessment as it is an extremely unique work journey.
I have had the great good fortune that people have manifested for me. Sometimes the journey has felt like snakes and ladders, where progress seems to take me back almost to the beginning again. Or, it has felt like climbing a mountain that has been covered in grease so you take a few steps forward and then fall back. But, slowly by slowly one plodding foot at a time I am gradually overcoming my hurdles and difficulties. My step mum has always said that I am not short of that good British quality called “gumption” and that my adult life has brought it out to be practiced and honed!
So, the combination of gumption, creativity and Others has got me this far. And today I would like to celebrate all these myriad others- you know who you are! People have demonstrated belief in me, encouragement, kindness, patience, showing up for me, feedback, advice, hours of time, effort, interest, creativity. The list is long and I appreciate all this with wonder and awe that others have given me willingly from their own side. Sometimes I have heard that the music industry is cut throat and difficult. It is undoubtedly difficult, unfathomable and hard to secure a toe hold in terms of finding your place. But, in terms of people, I have only been met with the above qualities from them, for which I am hugely grateful. I take delight in all those wonderful human qualities my team of Others have presented me with.
I am grateful to each one of you and your precious and wonderful positive human qualities- thank you for co- journeying with me thus far, helping me to grow and develop. It is and has been my great pleasure to have you on my path. It is not a journey for the faint hearted or to travel alone and it makes it all the more wonderful to share it with lovely human beings. Thank-you quite simply and I honour and have appreciation for you. Thank you for cherishing me.
Undoubtedly the week beginning February 14th is the beginning of a new chapter, a door to potential. I trust life will manifest things and iron out difficulties that will undoubtedly arise. It is above all, exciting and growing and this opportunity is directly given to me through Help Musicians Uk- thank you immensely to them.
Three cheers to all my lovely human beings on my singing snakes and ladders path who help me develop, grow and share that journeying in different ways. I am truly grateful for your gifts to me.
I wonder where this new ladder, on this board game of life, will take me? Onwards and upwards……no more snakes, please!