Searching For You

C.S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’

This is also why we listen to music. And, ‘if sad songs say so much’, as Elton John has rightly said, then my songs speak volumes.

This post is about me finding the right fan base for my music.  See, I know I’m not alone out there in what I suffer with major depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, chronic pain, suicidal thoughts and everything that goes along with these conditions. In writing this blog, and reading others, I have certain proof that I am not alone. And, yet, we are all uniquely alone in what we individually suffer. My music helps me to express and, in a very magical way, make beauty come from the horrific thing called life/existence. This is my gift. However, in another way, it complicates matters, because, with it, comes the intense frustration, anger, and sadness of not seeming to be able to get my music out there to the people it will most speak to and resonate with.

The thing is, I need a fan base—and I KNOW you’re out there, I’ve even spoken to a good number of you. Now, there are just a whole lot of people who aren’t ever going to like and support my music (even those who rave about my voice and talent), simply because they can’t relate to it.  I need to find those of you who will relate and find some comfort, expression and solidarity in what I do. I know I’m not alone, but I seem to keep pitching my music to the same people who don’t understand what I am going through in my daily life in general. In this way, I need a very specific audience. I know that audience does exist.  And, I truly believe it is an audience that NEEDS a musical voice.

I don’t want this post to just be some advertisement. And, I don’t want it to be me begging for people to check out my music like some sad failed loser of an indie artist. This is simply me putting out a search to see who’s out there in this Blogdom that my music might touch. ‘Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?’

Yes, I know that even for those of us with similar health problems, our musical tastes are not all going to be the same, of course…  but, if you are a music lover, just check my stuff out – if it vibes with you, then great. I do incorporate a wide range of styles in what I write and perform, so there’s a good chance that something I do will hit the spot.

I’ve just released a new studio album for digital download.  No, I am not giving it away for free (giving away my stuff in the past hasn’t helped me gain fans anyway). Musicians have bills to pay, like all craftsmen/craftswomen. I REALLY shouldn’t have to explain this, but in this day and age where musical talent can be faked with software and those of us with real gifts are left in an industry bankrupt and bereft, without a leg to stand on, many of us feel forced to give our lifeblood away in any desperate bid to get noticed. The thing is, most of us literally cannot afford to do it. I cannot afford to do it. Furthermore, it’s worth far more than the modest price I’ve put on it anyway.  I owe it to the other fine musicians and the exceptional producer I worked with to bring this piece of art and labour of love to completion to not just ‘give it away’, as if all our hard work meant nothing. Good music, real music… it costs something.  It costs those of us who make it – it should cost those of you who hear it. It’s part of the deal – it costs us all, but we ALL get so much in return…look at it as an investment. And, finding something you personally can relate to…well, that value cannot be understated or underrated.

So, this album isn’t a freebie, but you can listen to the tracks on bandcamp without paying; however, if you want to own the album and listen whenever and wherever you are, get the special bonus track and extra artwork, as well as support me as an artist (I’ll be eternally grateful), well, then, surely that makes the tiny monetary price a worthy investment.

Thank you for reading and listening. I hope I will hear from you soon.  Most of all, I hope (there’s that four letter word again) my music will reach who will most benefit from hearing it. I’ll finish here and let the songs speak for themselves.

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Grab A Note and Hang On

What actually helps someone suffering from mental illness and chronic pain? Nothing goes so far as a combination of friendship and doing what you love.

Just doing what you love to do, whether with anyone else or not, is a therapy. But, add in doing it with people you like who also love doing what you do, and doing that thing together…well, magic can happen.

Magic happened this past Sunday, the 19th of July 2015.

In a life that is long and characterised by pain, it’s these moments that are the saving grace, and they deserve to be celebrated. They bring the closest thing to hope and happiness that we get. And, therefore, they are exceedingly precious.

I wish us all many more such moments.

Grab a note and hang on.

Frosty

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Thank you to all of you who are reading my blog. It’s nice…it’s nice to have you here.

Today is a frosty day. The sun is shining, but I’m not going out into the cold (except for the obligatory school runs, of course; today I don’t feel like going out voluntarily). My body hurts with joint and muscular pain, my head isn’t up to the challenge of battling both physical pain and mental anxiety. Thus, here I sit, writing another post.

I appear to be on a roll here, blogging wise. Don’t expect one tomorrow, however. I wasn’t going to write about this, but I have an appointment tomorrow in Leicester (which means getting the train and probably a bus, but my husband is going with me, so I won’t panic…oh, I still might panic or meltdown, but he’ll be there to pick up my pieces). It’s a psychotherapy evaluation. Not a psychotherapy appointment, but an appointment to see if they think psychotherapy would help me. Anywho, yeah…even if I end up wanting to write about the experience, a trip to Leicester will drain me and it isn’t likely I’ll have the energy to post tomorrow.

But, today I have followed “the plan”: get the kids to school and then engage in some music therapy. I began with vocal exercises and then proceeded to play and sing, even looking up the music to some new songs, so as to give the brain something fresh to work on.

I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. Every night, as I go to sleep, I pray I won’t wake up. Every morning I am disappointed when I’m faced with another day. Couldn’t this time been it? Just fall asleep and have done with it. Rest. But, no… and it rushes at me, bombarding me. Nowhere for me to take cover. This is everyday. But, it’s especially  when I know a day will definitely contain added struggle and suffering.

Perhaps tonight will be the night. I’m always hopeful (which is why I’m always disappointed). But, yeah…not likely. Tomorrow there will be more than frost to face.

Withdrawing

My husband encourages me to get out of the house. But, I can’t bring myself to. Oh, just a walk would be nice, and I could play Ingress (blowing up things, even if it is only virtually, can be therapeutic). After all, as my husband suggests, no green butt will be kicked if I’m at home not willing to get off my blue butt. However, it’s not that I’m not willing or feeling lazy… I followed the plan (see yesterday’s post): after the school run, I sat at my piano, played and sang. Then, I even did some proper vocal exercises and, after that, played my flutes (all three of them, so none would feel left out…no, not at the same time, silly…one at a time).

Now I sit with a fortifying cup of hot chocolate and consider going out.

It’s that I might run into someone I might have to talk to. I can’t bear any social interaction at the moment. I feel nothing within myself that I can call upon to face the inevitable human contact that would occur if I went very far out my (rented) door. My mind reels with the frightful thought. The school run is bad enough, but I have to do that…I have no choice about it.

As I said in my last post, I have been withdrawing even more than my natural rather hermity state. No Facebook. No texting to reach out to anyone who has been considered a friend to maybe meet for coffee or whatever.

I told my husband that at least I’m not hurting or bothering anyone.  They’re certainly ok without me. I know he’s worried about me being ok…and we all know that’s the last thing I am.

But, the plan…yes, day 2 successful, music therapy applied…I feel like shit, but also feel like I contributed something just by filling the atmosphere with more than hot air…something beautiful, something that makes sense. Life doesn’t make sense, but making music does.

Yeah, it is a shame no green arse is being kicked and my advance in the game is being halted by my physical, mental and emotional state… but, it is what it is. I wish I felt better, but I don’t. At least, if I can’t find it within myself to “go out”, I’m not going straight back to bed. It’s something.

Music is Therapy. Always.

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The school run rarely runs (no pun intended) smoothly. I struggled, per usual, but I got them there and got myself back to the safe confines of the four walls I live in (I’d have said “my house”, but it’s rented and our financial situation is never going to allow us to own a house…so).

Things with my health have been deteriorating. Go back to the doctor, I hear you say. I’m tired of that. I’ve tried to get better, and just get worse.

I’ve withdrawn. Even more. I avoid Facebook, with the exception of my artist’s page. It’s another outlet. I keep it for that reason; it certainly isn’t good for much else (like promoting my music, which was its original intention).

Facebook. Ugh. Society in general, ugh. But, Facebook? Let’s put all neuroses in a Petri dish, why don’t we? The never ending stream (feed…yeah, and I’m fed up) of depressing human existence. Updates about food and who’s watching what on the telly. And the endless competition for who has the best (and worst) of life’s experiences goes on. It’s fucking overwhelming.

Oh, but you will accuse me of being negative…all the while, the whisper you ignore in the back of your head agrees with me, knows I’m right.

It may surprise you to find out this post is not a rant about Facebook. Where was I?… oh, yeah, the school run was done and I was safe inside the four walls.

After a glass of chocolate milk (with added vitamins), I found myself in front of my piano (it IS mine…not rented, all mine). I couldn’t remember the last time I had played it. I felt I should do something about it. Music is therapy. Always.

I cleared the pile of stuff (clothes, kids’ toys, who knows what else) off the bench. I sat. There was a song I had written (scribbled) in front of me. I played and sang it. My voice is rusty. But, the piano welcomed me like the true friend it is. We touched each other…that’s what musicians and their instruments do. It’s a very intimate thing and surely sounds freaky and pervy to non-musos. Freaky and pervy I can be accused of (I digress), but the relationship between musician and instrument is sacred.

It’s like any other relationship. We let each other down. We please each other when we can. It’s very give and take…on both sides.

After the scribbled song, I played and sang an old favourite. Then, I let the piano play me for a while. Give. Take.

I feel just as wretched and ill as before I sat down, but I feel a little less frazzled; I feel comforted.

Music is therapy. Always.

What’s next? I don’t know. Take it a day at a time. Do what I can…let go what I can’t. And, perhaps, try to play daily, even if only a minute or two. Yeah…it’s a plan.

Sometimes You Just Gotta (What Music Therapy Looks Like)

I’ve said it before…but, it bears repeating (and repeating, and repeating). Music is powerful. It’s spiritual and can be meditative and healing to body, as well as to mind, soul and spirit. Music therapy is a way to use music as medicine, very specifically and effectively. Playing a hand drum increases blood flow (circulation), singing is good for the lungs and nervous system. But that’s just one aspect (and only two examples). We’ve all heard how “music soothes the savage beast”. This isn’t just a saying. There is good medical science behind such a phrase. In making music, we can focus energy positively and that flow of positive energy and vibration can help manage conditions such as anxiety and depression, as well as being a good therapy for those of us who suffer from mood and personality disorders. Music IS powerful. I made this video to extol the virtues of music therapy and showcase just some of the healing benefits of making music.