Over the weekend, my song Parity was played on Tom Robinson’s BBC 6 Music show and again on the BBC Introducing Mixtape.
This is the first piece of validation about my music that I’ve had from someone who I have never looked in the eye and who will never have to look me in the eye.
All the advice is “you’ll have to back yourself if you want to succeed” and “just put yourself out there”. It is so easily said.
This is often said by people who have already succeeded (looking back through their that-wasn’t-so-hard hindsight) or those who have never really tried to step out of their comfort zone at all.
To expect creative people (often sensitive souls who spend a lot of time alone in order to hone the multiple elements of their craft) to ALSO be their own cheerleaders and publicists is such a big ask and should never be a given. This is whether they are creating music, poetry or starting a business.
If you do come to putting yourself out there, the “like me” requirement can really interfere with the creative flow and producing the work itself. This is particularly stark through the “invite people to like your page” Facebook button.
The most important thing for me has always been that I continue to write songs because it’s the thing that I love to do the most. There comes a point where, as part of the natural cycle, musicians are expected to “just put it out there”.
I understand it’s important to develop core strength so that the opinions of others are not EVERYTHING. However, feedback (and particularly clumsily worded feedback) can ring in the ears longer than anyone ever intended. This can halt the creative process.
I have, then, been cautious over the years as to just how far I’ve put myself out there.
I’ve grown up in a world of Pop Idol and X Factor, where some of the brave who “back themselves” are ridiculed for entertainment. I have laughed and cringed along with everyone else.
This has, however, created a paranoia about my own music. I have been tremendously lucky to have had enouragement from family, friends and fellow-musicians. For example, I was happy to receive this message today from a friend and all-time supporter:
It is, however, very easy for the bully in my brain to tell me that they are “just being nice” or “they’re too close to have any objective judgment”. After all, look at the many family members who have stood outside audition rooms with Ant and Dec or Dermot O’Leary over the years while the stars in *their* eyes were made spectacles of.
In building resilience, we need to have the occasional *win* in order to push us to take the next steps. These *wins* can firm up the ground so we can take those steps.
Platforms like BBC Introducing and Fresh On The Net are so important to provide a stage for people, like me, who have made music but have not been used to putting it out there. This is particularly true when other areas of the industry are reliant on existing “likes” before they will listen.
Thank you Tom Robinson.
My track, Parity, is listenable here and I’d love it if you followed me on Spotify (in order to further legitimise my worth 😊).
It would be great to hear your thoughts on putting your work out there either in the comments section below or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!