So my goal of releasing my EP this spring has come and gone. And ya know what…I’m ok with it. I kinda had that permission tucked in the back of my head just in case life got in the way…and it did. From sickness, to stress, to slight burnout, to attention being drawn to other musical ideas, life had quite the hand to play in this EP poker game.

I think the lesson here is that it’s ok to allow yourself some grace. Not reaching my goal really only had effect one person…me. If the stakes had been higher, like maybe someone was counting on me, or perhaps my livelihood was on the line, then I would have undoubtedly achieved what I set out to. This was not the case, so I gave myself a break. So spring becomes summer.

By the end of this summer is the new goal, and for this one…I’ll need to be more accountable. I’ve already missed the first goal and we don’t want this to become a pattern, so back to the grind it is. All that’s left is singing (well, then the post production, mixing and mastering) and I’m ready to get to work. No more slacking off, cuz I don’t want this little guy yelling at me…he’s got a bit of a temper!!!

At a routine doctor visit last Tuesday, I casually mentioned that I had a sore throat. Two swabs, a nice, guttural gag sound, and 5 minutes later I’m diagnosed with strep throat…YAY! Ever tried to sing with strep…it doesn’t really work. Another thing came up during my visit…my blood pressure was elevated to a range that I’m just not used to. Sure, being sick and the prescription antibiotics weren’t going to help said blood pressure, but the next couple of days proved to be a little concerning.

Work, that thing that pays for all the goodies that allow me to make music has been really stressful lately. Crazy deadlines and tons of stuff to get done. I even worked a 10 hour shift with a fever after my diagnosis. That’s was a REALLY stupid thing to do and I think it exacerbated every, especially the blood pressure thing. At one point, it got so high that my spousal unit, Kels, suggested that we go to the ER. I didn’t want to be hasty so we put some calming essential oils in the diffuser and started working on getting those numbers down. They eventually returned to and elevated, but not emergent state.

So what’s the take away here? Chill the eff out!!! Slow down!!! The 9-5 grind just isn’t worth getting sick over. I oftentimes forget this, cuz you know…I’m 10 for tall and bulletproof!!! *whispers…no I’m not* So music update this week, just a reminder that there are more important things in life than the 9-5, and I need to just slow the hell down!

I’m at that point with the EP…all that’s left, except for post production, mixing, and mastering, is to sing the songs I’ve recorded. I thought I had one in the can a few weeks ago, but it turned out I’d set up a compressor incorrectly and I was clipping my vocal…a BIG no, no. Scrapping nearly the entire take was painful to say the least, but it was necessary. If you write a song with a vocal, that IS the focus and it really should sound its very best…thus the scrapping.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a guitar player first and a singer second. I can play a guitar solo in front of eleventy billion people and not bat an eye. As for singing…I certainly can do it, but I’m a little less comfortable do so. I really let my head play games with me when it comes to my voice. I’ve lived a relatively clean life, no smoking, no heavy drinking, and I like to get my beauty sleep 🙂 With all that in mind, my voice is squeaky clean…which given the right context is ok, but if you think of successful rock or pop singers, there is typically some kind of ‘texture’ to their singing voice. I have to ‘try’ to add texture to mine and I worry that it might sound like I’m faking it. Then of course if I let my clean pipes shine, then I worry that it’s too clean and thus not very interesting. Like I said, I let my head get in the way. :-\

So we land on the lesson that I have told several creative people over and over. And sadly, I don’t seem to listen to myself when it comes to this advice. What is this advice? Art is subjective…some people will love you and what you do while some people will hate it. That’s just the nature of the beast. Beauty truly lies within the eye of the beholder. With that in mind, I need to just sing my songs and let the chips fall where they may. I’m an artist and as such I NEED to do art, and I need to realize that while it would be amazing if one of my songs touched someone in a profound way, or maybe lifted their spirits when they were blue. But I’m not actually writing songs for someone else. I’m writing songs for myself as this is a part of me that I need to express.

And there it is. I’ve gotta get over myself and just do what I do. I’m off…off to have some face to face time with a mirror and drill this ‘art is subjective’ thing into my head once and for all…wish me luck! 😀

The reason for this blog is to not only chronicle the things that happen in the studio as I work on this EP, but it also serves as a space for me to get some of that inner dialogue out so it doesn’t fester. With that said, I’ve mentioned my recent lack of motivation to do any work on the music that I’ve recorded. For whatever reason I just couldn’t/didn’t get anything done. It’s left me both a little concerned about actually finishing by the end of spring (probably ain’t gonna happen now) and curious as to why I’ve been feeling this way. Honestly, I still haven’t figured it out but rather than waste more time (for now anyways), I put on my big boy panties and fired up the studio today. And guess what…

Something clicked! Before I knew it, I’d finished recording an outro guitar solo to one song and the main guitar solo for another…and I was happy. I’m lucky that the deadlines I’ve set for myself don’t have some big record company behind them (well…actually that might not be so bad…hehe) adding pressure not only from myself, but from the corporate machine as well. I’m a bit of a hypocrite. When I’m supporting other creatives who may be struggling, I insist that they don’t force their art and that things will come when the time is right. For whatever reason, I struggle to allow myself the same amount of grace and I wind up beating myself up sometimes.

Today I stopped trying to force it and just allowed things to happen…and they did. Those guitar parts came when they were supposed to and not one second earlier. I’m hoping that I can look at what happened today, internalize it, cut myself some slack, and let the music flow when it’s supposed to.

I LOVE playing guitar and I LOVE making music…like, obviously. Recently I’ve been feeling the pull of a new musical direction…new sounds and ideas that I want to explore. But you know, I’ve got this EP that is really close to being done and if I lose focus, I’ll move on to that new musical direction I’ve been thinking of. So what do I do to strike some kind of balance? Get a new guitar, that’s what 🙂 I’ll keep plugging away at the EP and when I’m not working on it, I can explore all seven strings of this new instrument…everybody wins!

I’d planned to get some work done on the EP today, but there were some technical things that were bugging me and I had to get them sorted out. Knowing that things were not functioning the way I’d like or things weren’t configured correctly kinda bugs me. Not to OCD levels mind you, but to the level of a good old fashioned eye twitch if things aren’t just so. That said, I got those things sorted out and the hardware in my studio is operating at 100% (*knock on wood*).

Tomorrow is a new day and I’ll be back on the EP grind, but for now…maybe I’ll go say hello to that new guitar sitting in the corner.