Honest

The best way for me to deal with things, often, is to write it out. I confront issues better this way. Face to face is hard for me. I think maybe face to face is hard for a lot of people. And, that’s sort of what this post is about.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I was informed by one of my pastors that someone had come to him telling him that they had gone online to download my single, but then they had noticed some old pictures from years ago which I had put up on a photography and art website. It was easy to tell these images were old pictures, because I look younger and have much longer hair (don’t bother going to look for these pics – I had forgotten they were there – it had been years since I had done them and I had not logged into the site in a long time – anywho, they have now been deleted). This person who came to my pastor, instead of coming to me (face to face is hard, remember) – told him that they had intended to download my single, but then decided not to when they saw the pictures. I wish they had talked to me about it; I would have liked to have been given the opportunity to tell them what I told my pastor.  

 

I will be honest about those photos (I have no reason to hide or lie about them): they were quite provocative.  They were from a very different time in my life. I am still a passionate person, no doubt – something my husband likes about me very much. But, I am no longer into flaunting it to the world…for many reasons. One, I’m a middle aged woman now. But there is obviously more to it than that. The thing is, those things are part of my past, not my present. I would have liked the chance to, personally, tell whoever came to my pastor that all of us have things in our past that aren’t necessarily good and aren’t a part of who we are now. And, whether or not a person chooses to support my music and download it should solely be based on whether they enjoy the music. As I have mentioned in other places, I don’t think that personalities should be brought into this. If you like the song, buy the song. If you like a quilt, you don’t go digging around to find out about the nature of the person who made the quilt, do you? Thanks to X-Factor and other rubbish, we are too quick to make a judgement based on a person’s story, rather than the goods they produce. That’s one side of it. But, the other side is, whatever I have done in the past, whatever you have done in the past… whether the internet remembers it or not… God has forgiven it (if you’ve asked Him to, as I have)…and, the Bible says, He has forgotten it. The Bible also says we are to forgive others in the same way God forgives. In other words, get over the pictures, and download the song if you, indeed, like the song!

 

Now, there was something in all of this that surprised me quite a bit. See, if you follow any of the links I have abundantly provided in order to download the single, none of those links would have brought you to those forgotten pages. Any of the links I have given would either take you directly to my website or to either CD Baby, Amazon or i-Tunes where you can download the song. Someone would have had to Google me and search through a list of things in order to find them!  There was no reason to go to the hassle of Googling me to find the single. It was all so very curious. Hmmm…

 

So, there’s a few things I’d like to address:

 

I understand having a desire to like what an artist stands for, but it certainly isn’t necessary. I have never checked out everything a person or band has ever done in their life before buying their album, and I do not have to agree with their life choices or their opinions in order to enjoy their music.  For example, I really like Carole King. However, I do not share her view on gun control. That doesn’t stop me from listening to and buying her music: she is a brilliant songwriter; she doesn’t have to share my opinions or my beliefs in order for me to get something out of her music. Now, obviously, if you KNOW (for certain) someone is PRESENTLY supporting terrorism (or something else equally as terrible) with the money they make from their work, that’s another issue entirely. But, if you were going to take the time and trouble to type my long name into a search engine and dig through pages to find some dirt (and, again, I’m not denying that the dirt was there…you’ll always find something on anyone if you dig far enough), couldn’t you also take the time to do a little more research by asking me personally about what you found? I know face to face is hard – it was easier to go to the pastor and force him to deal with it – but, perhaps, like I am now, you could have written to me, contacting me by e-mail or by sending me a message via Facebook, etc. It’s what I would have liked to do, rather than make this so public, but I don’t know who you are! I doubt you even read my blog, but maybe someone who does read it knows who you are and can pass on the message to you. Let’s talk/write/send carrier pigeons.

 

I’m not angry. In fact, I was glad that it was brought to my attention so I could go and get rid of some stuff I had “out there” that I really didn’t want out there! And, another reason that I’m posting about this publically, is because I want to be honest and open. I am honest about my weaknesses and hang-ups and failures. While I do not dwell on my past – the Bible says not to – I will talk about it openly. And, I will talk about how I am at the present time, as well.

 

I’m just a real person, who happens to be blessed by God with a decent contralto voice and the ability to write songs and the love of performing. Those things are gifts. Presently (not in the past, but right now, at this exact moment, to be abundantly clear), I struggle and suffer with severe depression. I have social anxiety. I have a list of physical health issues, as well. I don’t share these things to make you go, “Awwww, I’ll go download the single now because she has such a sob story.” No, again, that’s the X-Factor mentality that I wish I could rid the planet of! I share these things to be as honest as I can. To show, I am not hiding. Romans 8:1 says, “There is now, therefore, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” I share these things to show that every day that I can get up, get out of bed, face and deal with life, is a testimony to the grace of God at work in me.

 

Now, another point: I must have people’s support in order to keep being able to make music. If I don’t have that support, I will have to give up the webpage and won’t be able to release any more singles or albums. I’ve invested my all into my career, but I cannot make it happen without the support of enough others. If I had plenty of money, then I could pay for promotion. But, I don’t have that kind of money – and won’t have it unless my stuff gets enough exposure and I get enough paid gigs to buy said promotion. I need more of a fanbase, and that requires everyone that knows and likes my music to be very vocal about it! I am extemely grateful for those of you who have always supported me – you are precious group of people. Unfortunately, you are just too small a group of people and the painful realisation is that, if things don’t change, I will hav
e to retire. I haven’t yet found that wonderful way some people have of getting others to share stuff everywhere online and to get the message out by word of mouth. I’ve read all the articles, I’ve been trying all the advice… and it just doesn’t seem to work for me. So, again, I appeal to whoever sees this for that support, please.

 

The new album is out on the 2nd of November, and I have a gig on the 4th to launch the album. Everyone is welcome to the gig – it’s a free event. And, besides the music, there will be great coffee there! And, did I mention my handsome band? Yes, The Heartsong Band will be there, too! They are nice to look at as well as to listen to! With me… well, just shut your eyes but not your ears! Or keep your eyes on the handsome gentlemen playing music all around me!

 

And, yeah… I don’t care about your past. In Christ I’m a new creature, you’re a new creature…let’s just not be silly with each other. Get the song if you like it – it’s not about whether you like ME or not. By the same token, if you like me a whole lot (there are a few of you), don’t get the song if you don’t like it. But, even if it’s not your cup of musical tea, I would appreciate you spreading the word, because someone that you know might enjoy it very much. Yeah, because, you know…helping each other out…that’s a lot better than digging up dirt and spreading it around any day.

 

 

 

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Never Let Them See You Sweat?

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I tend to show, or wear, my vulnerability. Perhaps a bit too much. I don’t know if it makes me “real” or “honest” or if it just makes me weak and whiny. It’s probably some of the former but too much of the latter. But, I honestly don’t know. I do know it’s just me; it’s just really honest, weak and whiny me.

I have been working on an album. I think maybe three people, besides me, are excited about it. The thing is, if that’s all there is, has it been worth all the effort I have put into it? The blood, sweat and tears. The sacrifice of time with family, the hard graft to produce the thing myself (not only to write, sing and play the songs). I appreciate – very, very much – the three (or, perhaps five) people who might be really happy with getting my album. But, are those faithful few (precious though they are to me) enough to spend the money (that could go to food and clothes for the kids… and, don’t forget books – books are good) to get the album distributed?  I haven’t made up my mind. I tell you the truth, I’m very conflicted. I might just upload it and offer it as a free download to those faithful few.  Because…yeah, I’m sweating it. What if I upload my hours and hours of hard work and sacrifice – if I offer my pearls – and it simply gets trampled on?

Perhaps I wait. I was planning a release next month (November 2012). But, maybe not. The songs will wait. They are recorded, they are backed up… they aren’t going anywhere. And, although I was, in a sense, running out of time (because I’m not getting any younger and I won’t have my voice forever) I have these files, safely locked away. For myself, if no one else. Maybe next year?  Maybe never? Maybe to a select few? Maybe to the world and just see what happens?

I have learned a lot through the process of writing and producing this album. One, I have learned I do not want to be a producer. What a pain! Hats off to those of you who do production for a living. Two, I have learned that patience is key. And, if you have to re-record it a hundred+ times to get it right, then it is worth it when you do, finally, get it. Three, I have learned that I like my music for what it is and have come to terms with limitations as well as celebrating strengths. Four, I have become a better songwriter and am a better judge of what works and what doesn’t. Five, I may be confused over what to do with this album, but I am not in any doubt over its worth: I am proud of my accomplishment.

Music quietly fades out.