It has been quite a year for me. I moved back to California and then moved to Oregon. I worked a few different jobs until I settled in one I liked. I had to completely start from scratch with friends and connections in a new city. I had to get used to doing my music in a shared studio apartment. I thought a lot about music and what it means to me as I once again start a job that doesn’t have anything to do with it, and make decisions that both enable me to finance my music but also pull me away from it for most of the day.
I released a song last week called Tired of Me and it felt so…fucking good. I felt like I closed the book on something. I felt like I checked a box on my to-do list. It had closure.
A few months ago I saw this fantastic video about advice for musicians and one piece that stuck with me was that if you never release your songs, you’re actually missing a huge part of the experience of making music. Music is not meant to be solitary. Of course it can still serve functions in a solitary way (therapy, processing) but ultimately it is about connection and harmony and communication. This advice made me realize that I wanted to release more songs, and if I wanted to do that I had to work on my self-discipline and follow-through.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about music and tinkering with it, but I wrongly was going into my creative process thinking that a song had to be really good on the first try to be workable. I was limiting myself to music being like a divine intervention where if the song didn’t flow out of me in one shot, it probably wasn’t meant to exist. I have this backlog of so many songs that I listen to and hear moments I like but still write off because overall I wasn’t happy with how they sounded. I wasn’t thinking in terms of refining them. I was treating it like it was all or nothing.
Writers always say the book is written in the editing process. I think music is exactly the same. It’s in refining and fine-tuning a song that you get the records that last. There is a lot of beauty in improvisation and trial-and-error, don’t get me wrong. But you can carve something out of a vague idea that’s so much more complex and lasting if you just keep coming back to it with fresh eyes, tinkering, and refining it.
I’m rambling a bit, but only because I am SO excited to embark on this year of music. That’s what I’m calling it I guess, basically I am going to put out a song a month. An original, full-release song, on spotify/itunes/tidal the whole thing, every month this year. I’m not sure how hard it’s going to be to stick to that schedule or what issues I’m going to encounter but I think the self-imposed deadline will be good for me. I wrote and finalized Tired of Me in under a week so for me it’s a lot more about self-discipline than it is about needing time to work on things. I realize as I look back at my life and how music has played a role, I have always been proud of the things I’ve released and it has always given me this beautiful insight into what was going on in my head at that time. Not many other things in my life give me that feeling when I reflect on them. But music always makes me feel good about myself. So if I were to prioritize what has had most impact on my life so far, music always will come out on top.
So expect Tired of Me to be the first of many songs in the coming months, and I hope you all stick with me as I develop my production style, I process my life, and I try my best to make music that makes me happy.