Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Am I Being True To Myself? | The Question Every Artist Struggles With

Howdy everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged-I’ve been overwhelmed with things to do over the last few months and having a succession of coughs, colds and sniffles didn’t help! It’s not been a good time for getting sick as I’ve had a lot of private events to perform at which I had to soldier through! I decided to write this post because as an artist, creative, and someone who often ponders about how to be truly happy, I often question myself. Questioning myself is a positive thing of course-every so often I experiment, do something out of the box, and then I conclude whether or not I’m doing the right thing. I think all artists question themselves from time to time as we live in a world where we take on a lot more than the artists that we grew up on. With so much at our fingertips, we can be our own PR and marketing team, management, record label, and even sound engineers and video editors if we want to…

I got thinking recently after watching Amanda Palmer’s Ted talk which you can watch 
HERE. In the video she talks about her humble origins as a street performer as she struggled to ‘make it’ as a musician. If you have ever wondered who those people in Covent Garden are who dress up and paint themselves as human statues and then proceed to stand very still for hours on end-they are Amanda Palmer. 

She would paint herself and dress up as an 8 foot Bride. I found the video courtesy of a site I love, The Upworthiest who always post great videos. It’s a very interesting talk because she goes on to talk about her direct and confronting methods of interacting with her fans. She would literally stay in their houses, sleep on floors, play gigs in random places like libraries and basically allow her fans to fund her music. She feels it has been a successful and fair exchange. Through her journey she went through the process of being signed and then wanting desperately to be dropped by her label. Amanda’s story is unique to her artistry of course-not everyone would be comfortable with some of the things Amanda did, and would not feel comfortable with the amount of trust she seems to have put into complete strangers.  Having worked in the industry for a while now, I have met so many artists, both successful and unsuccessful and it seems to me that everyone has the same struggles and frustrations.

Am I being true to myself?

This is a question I am constantly asking myself, and I know it’s what other artists ask themselves too.  Sometimes it can feel like an ongoing and never ending struggle to be true to yourself because this industry moves so fast. In order to keep up you find yourself doing things you would never even have dreamed of doing before. Since I was little Michael Jackson has been my hero-someone who in the latter part of his career and life hardly ever gave interviews. This meant that anytime he did speak, or do anything, it was a huge worldwide event. This wasn’t always the case of course, in the early days of the Jackson 5, Michael and his brothers did all the interviews, television shows and performances  that you would imagine a new and young exciting act would do in order to get the necessary attention. Nowadays, the word ‘overexposed’ doesn't exist as we are constantly bombarded with information by our favorite artists left, right and center. And we love it! Well I know I do, because if I didn’t want to know what my favorite artists were doing every second I could just click out of that browser. I don’t have to look at it.  I’m a willing participant, creating content and also consuming content. Through my solo journey, I am constantly checking myself to ensure that I don’t get lost in it all, that everything you see is me. 

So in answer to that question today-yes I am being true to myself. There is so much ‘noise’ out there. So many opinions on what I should be doing, wearing,singing, saying, posting, writing, covering…and I have learned to just hit the mute button.  When it comes to my creativity, I am happiest when I do exactly what I want to do. It is the one part of my life where there is no room for negotiation or compromise. Because my happiness has to come first when I’m doing what I love. If  I stop loving what I do, it’s all over. Right now I am the happiest I’ve ever been because I’m able to keep ticking that box whenever I ask myself the question ‘Am I being true to myself?’. Of course there are always hurdles and things I want to conquer and achieve, but doing it my way is really the best feeling.

This post was sort of like a stream of consciousness after seeing Amanda Palmer’s story, so forgive me if I was too vague or didn’t explain myself very well! Feel free to shoot some questions at me or tell me your thoughts on this. This isn’t just relevant to artists of course, many people in all different fields struggle with this question. Let me know your thoughts in the comments…   Flying kisses!!   Anita xxx