“If Music Be the Food of Love…”
IT seems prescient to preface this feature with...
plenty of caveats and disclaimers. Any ambitions and declarations surrounding following dreams (creative ones, especially) should be taken with caution and a pinch of salt. I admire those who strike against domesticity and ‘normal life’ in order to consecrate themselves to something more fulfilling, impressive and original. The point of this feature is not, as you might think, to simply vent and boast but to raise an interesting point. Too many of us are content to sit in our everyday lives and complain about things: not taking necessary measures to resolve issues and unhappiness. It is hard making real changes and creating a better life – not as simple as many make it out to be. I have seen a lot of people trudge through their daily lives; yearning for something better and more soul-nourishing. From my perspective, things have reached a bit of a plateau: an intractable impasse that has really struck a chord and hit very hard. In past years, I have been dissatisfied with work/life but always comforted myself with the same mantra: you are working towards your ambitions; the dedication will pay off. People say that to me a lot on social media: your loyalty to music and prolificacy will see you get where you need to be. Some say it as a bromide while others genuinely mean it: either way; I feel I am letting myself (and them) down by not being proactive and brave enough. I think many, including myself, have to live with reality to a certain extent.
Many have to work live an undesirable life and do jobs that are a ‘means to an end’. That perfectly articulates where I am at this very moment: eyes are on the horizon but my heart and soul are really not in it. When you are obsessed with music and trying to change the world (through this medium) it can be frustrating and depressing working your way up to it – the need to have everything put into place, right away, can be suffocating and horrible.
My current job (shall not name-check) is, at the end of it, a pay cheque: the chance to facilitate a living; a stepping stone to where I need to get. To be fair, I hate every single second of it - but would never tell my employer that. Without getting into specifics: every component of it is utterly gut-wrenching: I have never been as miserable and bored by any job/workplace than this. I went in with semi-optimistic hopes but that (very quickly indeed) dissipated and has been replaced with resentment and upset. Where I am living, and the town I find myself in, creates the same feelings in me: a pit of hatred and disappointment; people who (not all, but most) make my heart slump and my brain boil – again, we can dispense with details and petty criticisms. It seems baffling why one human would entrench themselves in such a miasma: I have been wondering the same thing. In actual fact, it is a sacrifice I have to make at this very moment: a way to transition from a horrifically undesirable predicament to the ideal precipice. No matter where you want to get in life; it is never as simple as people make out: that brilliant, happy existence only results from grit, determination and a lot of hard work – an element of serendipity goes into the process. So where does music come into this?
I admire, as I stated up top, those who live the non-9-5, home-for-the-kids, talk-to-colleagues-about-your-mundane-life apoplexy. Really, it is the definition of modern life and, quite frankly, it bores me rigid. Those who choose that lifestyle and entitled and in the majority but when you’re following the ‘norm’: where do those innovators and leaders come from? Firefighters, nurses and scientists (among others) are deeply impressive and commendable people but the lure of music is so much stronger – I don’t know what it is but it has that inexplicable, sphinx-like allure. Listening to radio and doing my daily journalism tasks (apart from family too) is the only pleasure and satisfactions I get from life – it seems insane not to chase that as a job. Many assume, if you want to get into music as a career, that you’re a musician. I often get asked if I play any instruments and I always have to say, with a slightly embarrassed look, I have no dexterity or instrumental abilities. I am a lyricist and have a decent voice but my real passion and spark come from writing and promoting artists – making the public aware of wonderful acts and terrific sounds. Nothing gives me more pleasure that helping a musician get their songs out there or discovering a genuinely stunning artist. I cannot describe the inner feeling I get when watching a musician succeed and continue to shine: one of the simplest and most understated pleasures one could ever expect. My fascination and obsession is not just resigned to writing and reviewing- the business side of thing really compels me.
A little while ago, as social media followers might be aware, I interviewed London-based D.J./polymath/businesswoman Carly Wilford. I implore you follow her across Facebook and Twitter, but it was an interview that really opened my eyes. Her career arc seems to be transposition of expectation. She began, or spent her early-formative years, ensconced in a cottage and marriage (hope she will not mind me saying) - living out a career that vastly differs from what she does now. Seemingly contented and secure in her life: a spark of epiphany came about and was a definite game-changer. What she was living was not who she wanted to be: it was then she decided to take positive steps and change everything.
Watch the video above, where she explains with greater eloquence and succinctness, but my point is this: she took the leap and followed her musical desires.
It is, as she will profess herself, not something that happens overnight: baby-sized, positive steps is all you need. The hardest thing, like someone with an addiction or illness, is admitting you are unhappy and need to make changes – so many of us go through the motions without every confessing we are unsatisfied and want a different life. Carly’s story arc and reinvention is one of the reasons I got into journalism and love music. Her daily experiences and career transverse is hugely inspirational and the envy of many.
If she is not interviewing a hot, up-and-coming artist or taking her D.J. talents to Barcelona or Glastonbury: she is travelling the world in search of hungry crowds and eager faces – chances to take her energy and skills to international realms. She has not got where she has by luck or by virtue of her youthfulness and beauty: she has slogged and got out there; created platforms and pounded tirelessly to do what she want to do with life. She is someone I am following closely and hope to emulate very soon. I am sure she is tired of me name-checking her but few humans like her exist; those that get up and say “You know what; I am in a life that sucks and need to change that!” It takes a courageous human to walk away from a comfortable, albeit unhappy, rut and aim for something riskier and harder – how many of us have the fortitude and energy to do that? I shall leave Carly alone only to say you should, even if you’re not an aspiring musician/creative, to follow her. SISTER and I Am Music – again, check those out on social media – are the results of her hard work and dedication.
I feel one of the reasons I, and many others I know, want to dispense with a mundane, workaday life is because of the long-term potentiation and fulfillment. Those who are creative by nature often feel subjugated and dispirited by normality and perfunctory living. Instilled with a burning desire and unique brain: we need a way to channel that intensity and individuality. I hear ‘6 Music every day and want to be in that situation: working at a station that is that varied, quality-assured and fascinating. I have mooted other projects and desires; from a London-based music café/bar - https://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/psychoacoustics-barcafe/- to a bespoke radio station – https://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/feature-radio-adage-from-the-basement-up/ – and will never quit those goals. It is isn’t easy to achieve – God knows, it may never happen – but there are so few people out there doing that kind of thing. London is my Mecca and Medina; my lover and constant Muse: the natural first stop for musicians and creative souls. I live, rather inconveniently, close to London but not there quite yet: I feel it is the key to unlocking so much; where I should be for things to fall into place. Manchester and Melbourne (are cities) I want to live in for a while: set up to flatter and please people like me; stuffed with vibrant social scenes and hugely inspiring musicians. Aside from my business/station ambitions, I have always tossed around the idea of a music website-cum-collective – https://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/2015/11/28/psychoacoustics-a-new-music-venture/ – that is, not only a way to bring thousands of musicians, businesses and creatives under one roof: a more accessible way to hear all music and discover the best new sounds – programs and software incumbent for people to make and share music. These aspirations and projects are an iron lung to me: something that keeps me hopeful and provides definite career objectives. It is great having the opportunity write and contribute to The Metropolist, this blog and Impakter – a new venture that I am getting settled into at the minute. I hope to parlay this into other opportunities and write for other sources – building the C.V. and a varied portfolio of work. I am happy so many people I know are taking risks and following their music ambitions. Some are heading to auditions whilst others are starting bands or releasing new albums – all to be applauded and supported. Passivity and procrastination is the death of the creative soul: for things to happen; you need to get out there and make it a reality. People like Carly – last mention, promise – succeed because they network and articulate themselves through a hands-on approach. It is not easy simply stepping into a music career and certainly not for me. I am of a ‘certain age’ (*clears throat*) and have, perhaps, missed the boat when it comes to intern. work and entry-level opportunities – normally reserved for college and university leavers. In addition to prolific contributions (to the aforementioned websites) I am trying to get wheels in motion – not only the long-overdue London switch but creating websites and building my own mini-empire.
The reason behind this post was not to moan and whine about my predicament – less I turn into the very people I long to better – but inject a very clear message:
It is possible to make dreams happen. Nobody understands the numerous attractions and simmering seduction of music more than me.
It is more than a hobby or casual thing: it the point of everything and the life I should be leading. It can be hazardous embarking on a career in music: fraught with challenges, lacking opportunities and many frustrating days/weeks. As people around me are proving: taking positive steps is crucial in order to fulfil your goals and aims. It is unclear how the next year will pan out, but one thing is clear: it will be a much more musical, creative, London-centric existence. Where I am currently (and the people I am surrounded by) is as far from where I want to be as is possible – having that sort of clarity is what’s motivating me forward. Music constantly inspires and surprises me. It is not good enough, if you are like me, standing on the sidelines and merely listening to it. I have that delirious desire to embrace it in all its potential and possibility. There are buildings to be occupied and websites to be designed: musicians to be interviewed and cities to see. So much is out there and that feeling of missing out is a crushing anxiety. Anyone, anywhere can achieve what they want to: being deeply unhappy and wasting time is no way to live at all. A career in music might seem an insurmountable obstacle to straddle but it requires discipline, patience, and persistence. I have been going at it for years and feel I am not all the way there – still a lot to learn and things I need to get in place.
If the passion and desire is there then that is all you need. Being like everyone else and ordinary is okay for some, but for those whose hearts beat differently, it not a possibility they are ever willing to entertain.
Many people will not understand your passion or being able to relate, but that is okay: there are people out there that understand implicitly and know just where you are coming from. Music is a huge and exciting market and one that needs performers and creatives; the ideas-people and business-minded. Do not fear and be discouraged by what others are doing or saying – you do not need their recognition or approval. To paraphrase a legendary Bard: “If music be the food of love…
PLAY on, and never stop.