It seems strange that I am writing about rejuvenation and renewed energy, after being on the road for the past couple of weeks as I sit still far away from home in Austin, TX preparing to perform this weekend.
The last twelve months of my life have been about growth. I have learned a great deal about relationships in the industry, and learned to prioritize the relationship that I have with myself. As working artists we often put the needs of projects and collaborators ahead of our own… many of us are afraid to speak up about things that aren’t working… even more of us are afraid to walk away when artistic working environments are toxic. All of these stressors that we have allowed to fester, become like bile eating away at our insides… they result in physical sickness while simultaneously contributing to problems with our mental health.
Growth doesn’t mean that everyone gets to come along on the journey with you… and it isn’t because you don’t want to see others succeed alongside of you, but it is because some connections in this life are unhealthy and will actually hinder your purpose driven path forward. If there is one thing that I have definitively learned from the trials and tribulations of the last twelve months, it is that boundaries are healthy and you don’t have to say “yes” to everything to be successful in this business.
For several years, I ran an arts nonprofit corporation. I poured blood sweat and tears into the company, in an effort to offer things to my local community and the international music community-at-large. In March 2018, I reached a breaking point… I had a serious discussion with my business partner and he helped me realize that I was blocking so much of my ability to live as a whole person, to excel as a complete artist, and to have a peaceful soul because of the organization. Most importantly, he helped me by creating a safe space to let go of everything. So much of the remaining stress in my life once I distanced myself from toxic people was tied to the stress of running events and a business practically on my own; meanwhile feeling ostracized from my local community. There was additionally, a great deal of financial stress, over half of my personal income and assets were invested in the business so that I could create a platform for others; however, in so doing, I created a situation that not only reduced my quality of life but also my capacity to invest in myself and my own career.
In closing so many doors, I have found a great deal of peace. I feel more present when I am working with other artistic professionals, which fosters better experiences and higher quality work. Most of all, I feel more present in my own practice. I have the space to do research, to ponder, to create, to live a purpose driven life. I think that the work made in this new space has been the most profound of my catalogue to date.
Which brings me to the next major event on the horizon… MY FIRST ALBUM RELEASE ON AEROCADE MUSIC! I can’t tell you how much excitement and trepidation I’ve had with regard to the release of this work. If you want to talk about leveling up, in the span of six months, I’ve gone from a largely DIY artist self-releasing albums on Bandcamp to having the backing of a label, a publicist, and an intern. As artists, we often want to be in control of all aspects of a project… it is a primal urge on our parts. With Quadrivium, I learned what it was to give up control as well as what it means to delegate, which ultimately resulted in a fulfilling experience for me… for the first time I was just the artist, and that has a freedom that can hardly be expressed in words.
While I’m still adjusting to this new stage in life, I am happy to explore this new territory… to have time to meditate each day, to do yoga, to pray, to set an intention, to be a more present individual that lives with passion and loves with intensity.
Cheers to new beginnings!