Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone, Building Resilience, And Becoming Proud Of Myself
It's been a little while since we had a catch up, and I feel like a lot has happened since August! So, ahead of the release of my second song at the end of November, I thought I'd tell you a little bit about what's been going on over the last couple of months, accompanied by some snaps from my latest trip to my fave, Brighton.
Since the start of October, I've actually been living at my family home in North Wales - check out my Instagram for all of the photos and videos. It was a great opportunity to escape the pollution and noise of London and to reconnect with nature a little bit. However, last week, I found myself in Tobacco Docks for Introducing LIVE, a three day music industry event hosted by BBC Introducing.
I'm not going to lie: I was shitting myself. There were some HUGE names within the industry attending, including people I have admired for years. With only one song under my belt, I didn't really feel qualified to attend, and I knew the panel speakers would be swarmed by budding artists at the end of each event, all hoping to get their break. While I think I come across as charismatic and confident most of the time, anybody who knows me knows that I'm not a very outgoing person, so I knew that this was going to be a difficult event.
The day wasn't a huge success for me, but I stepped out of my comfort zone and I did things I thought I wouldn't be able to. I'm never going to be the sort of artist who pushes others out of the way to get to where I need to be, and learning not to compare myself to others who seem to have endless confidence and guts is going to be an uphill battle. However, I went, I saw, and I conquered my worries. Go me!
I knew I was entering into one of the toughest industries in the world hen I decided I was going to give music a go. I've always known this was going to take hard work, patience, and resilience, but if I thought I knew half of it, I was wrong!
When I released my first song last month, I thought: "Sure, I can get at least 10,000 streams in a month, maybe some press coverage on a small blog or two". Turns out that couldn't have been further from the truth! The almost 2000 streams I've earned on Spotify over the last two months were extremely hard fought and for all the many email pitches I sent, I didn't get a single reply. Well that was, to quote Sigrid, a sucker punch!
I purposefully chose a song that didn't hold much meaning for me when I decided to release 'Money', because I knew it was likely to underperform, and I knew that as my first experience with production and mixing, it wasn't going to blow anybody away. I was treating it as a tester track, but I was still proud of what I'd achieved with it. However, even knowing all that, when I didn't receive any replies and seeing the stream count ticking over felt like watching paint dry, I started to think: "Wow, maybe I've really fucked this up".
The month following the release was really, really hard, because I internalised everything. I thought this must mean I was a bad songwriter, a bad singer, a bad producer, a bad mixer, etc. I felt pretty useless and started wondering whether I was delusional to think I could ever pursue a career in music. I think I'm a pretty resilient person in many ways, but this was testing, especially when comparing myself to breakout artists and peers with teams behind them.
However, with time comes clarity and the truth is that when I'm feeling good about myself, I actually think I'm a really good songwriter, a great singer, and a pretty damn good producer and mixing engineer considering I'm a beginner! In fact, it's not my musical skills I need to improve, but my self-belief and resilience, especially if I'm entering this industry.
Finally, in case that last paragraph rubbed you up the wrong way, I just want to say that there's nothing wrong with being proud of yourself. I spend WAY too much of my time hating on myself, whether it's my appearance, my voice, my lack of a social life, my mixing skills, or even the fact that I spend so much time hating on myself! Picking faults in myself and comparing myself to others is the single biggest way that I waste time which could otherwise be spent doing something productive and enjoyable. It isn't fun for me, it isn't fun for anybody around me, and it achieves absolutely nothing. So why do we do it?
I can't think of a single good reason, so I want to make more of an effort to be proud of myself and to love myself. I don't have much of a fanbase yet, so I've got to be my own biggest fan, otherwise I've got nothing! Sometimes it takes a little bit of a nudge from somebody else, but that's OK. When I'm working on my music all by myself for days on end, I'm essentially operating in my own echo chamber. Every negative thought I have is amplified in my own head, and while it's great that I have a critical outlook towards my own work, it can definitely be too much. Seeking honest feedback from an external source that I trust is usually a great way to remind myself that, actually, I'm doing more than OK.
Here's your reminder to be proud of yourself for something today ♡