My Cabin in the (Holly)woods
I'm a pretty deliberate person. I like to plan out how I'm going to do something and then get down to it. The problem is I also tend to be a poor communicator, meaning that when I decide to do said something I also forget to tell people and then they wonder what I'm up to, or if I'm still functioning as a human being (hi mum, I'm still alive).
Moving to LA has been an eye-opening experience for me and something I've been figuring out since I arrived has been how to strike a balance between pure songwriting and working on my path as a dedicated artist. In the past few weeks I've been honoured to meet with, and receive encouragement from, some pretty amazing people in the industry. My reaction to all of this was to hide away and write furiously, with one goal in mind: write the best songs I've ever written.
Don't get me wrong, my goal has always been to write good music, but you know that old quote, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got"?
Henry Ford was onto something there. Since taking those meetings and slowly absorbing the advice I received I shut myself away, albeit in a room and not a cabin, and forced myself to start thinking outside of my comfort zone, to dig deeper, write more honestly.
It's frustrating at first to see the edges of the box you've built around yourself, to feel the limits and become acutely aware of how you've put yourself into a corner. It's maddening to re-write a chorus to a song over and over and over again, each time trying something new until you don't think you can possibly come up with something different. There's a mild sort of insomnia you start to develop because you've been so obsessed with trying to out-think yourself that now your mind has decided to run off with the idea and work overtime.
There is also a magical moment when you tear aware a little piece of the wallpaper on the inside of your comfort zone, a sliver small enough to let a little light in from the outside. It feels like the effort to tear it off is an order of magnitude more than the size of the hole you make, but what you see on the other side - it's a glimpse into what is possible and it's like rocket fuel on a fire.
Despite the excitement I've also had to become really patient with myself. See, I've had this advice before from almost the same people, but way back. Thing is I never quite knew what to do with the information, how to process it and make use of the advice I was given. I have pictures of me hanging out with some of the most important musicians in my life who were giving me exactly what I needed to hear, but I wasn't mature enough or experienced enough to know how to use it. I've had to learn how to forgive myself for being human, for being young and dumb, and for feeling like somehow everything they tried to impart to me went right over my head. Everyone is on a different track, each of us at our own pace, and at some point it clicks - it just won't happen on anyone else's schedule but yours.
So this is why I've gone very quiet on all public fronts and will probably continue to be quiet for a little while longer. I've made a pact with myself that no matter how I excited I get about a song in the moment I'm not going to put anything out until I am absolutely sure that it's the best I can do, that it's a song that is needed and can touch as many people as possible. For that to happen I'm going to keep digging until I hit that vein of gold, which means going through a whole lot of junk until I get there. I just can't wait to share it with you once I do.