For 2018 I committed to approaching things differently, in fact, my recent approach has been to choose a word to drive my year - last year it was create, and I did - this year it’s “different” because I’m trying to push myself to explore things that I’ve never considered or may have scared me in the past.
Before you go searching, Part 2 is on the One Proud Monkey blog :)
So I find myself in a hotel room in Gunnedah, there’s a pool outside my door which would probably be OK but its current occupants are blasting Alan Jackson and talking about how to “fix” Australia so I’m getting a kryptonitish reaction to the area, despite it being 42 degrees.
So how did I get here 3 weeks into the new year? You may have heard that I won a regional songwriters competition to play at the Tamworth Country Music festival. Now, I’m reliably informed that Tamworth these days is as much country as Bluesfest is blues… i.e. not so much… lucky, cause I don’t play country music… do I?
A lot of my music making life has been based around, and some may say limited by, the constraints I’ve put on myself - early on it was “I can’t sing” even though I loved writing lyrics and trying to make up melodies. I’d researched rock history and found a bunch of great writers who weren’t frontmen for bands… so I was OK with it. For a while. But sometimes you run out of water to douse the flames and the want to sing my own songs got too great.
So I started getting singing lessons. But I didn’t tell anyone ‘cause - well, REAL singers don’t need lessons right? That’s what I told myself… then I saw James Hetfield on a doco talking about HIS singing lessons. OK, so maybe they do.
There was a rough time where I almost put the guitar down for good, it felt like I couldn’t do what I wanted and I was forcing myself into situations that weren’t pleasant for me (or the audience honestly) but a chance meeting and collaboration in London kicked off the dream again (thanks Azza!)
I began writing songs I actually liked playing again, maybe for the first time actually, started playing at open mic nights, played a couple of “joke” songs ‘cause at least if people laughed then I could handle that… better than being ignored…
I listened to someone who told me if I wanted to play music and live in Dubbo I’d have to play covers, “‘cause no one likes songs they don’t know” - fair enough, but I wasn’t good at it. Not ‘cause I COULDN’T do it, because I didn’t want to… it just didn’t fit - like putting unleaded fuel in a diesel car (…and that’s the extent of my knowledge about cars)
When I play a song I wrote I get a buzz. And that’s all I wanted. An expression. An outlet. When I started to think about it I realised the only thing that’s ever really held me back was what I thought I was supposed to be.
So, this week, I’m going to play my songs for some people. Maybe some people will even think they’re country songs, maybe some people will even like them. And having that opportunity is very cool. When you embrace “different” the limitations fall away - it’s a beautiful feeling so I’m gonna go with it and see where I end up!
Thanks for listening