After my CD release party in May, I have not been out to perform. So, what gives? Here is the scoop. Since May, I’ve worked on a number of pieces to add to the set I’ve been playing out for Sunset Serenade. It needed to be longer. And I love them! But now, things aren’t hanging together right. Things just aren’t meshing. I have to acknowledge, something is up.
Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion, to be an artist who creates good work consistently, you must work from a place of authenticity.
I’ve long struggled with this. My own authenticity has been hard for me to grasp. I think it has a lot to do with the understanding you have about who you are. And I think I am finally beginning to come to terms with who I am. It also has a lot to do with the depth of study it takes to play the harp. You can get lost down the rabbit hole in the details of playing very easily.
But I feel the authenticity is finally within my reach. It has been a long time coming.
At this point in my life, with my music, it is key for me to create good work consistently. I’ve had it with exploring different avenues in my craft to see what is a good fit and what is not. I’ve explored enough and learned a lot. I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot follow the money (gigs, weddings and teaching) to find the authenticity. Being a SAH mom, I just don’t have the time to follow the money and work on what I need to work on artistically. It has to be either or.
It has been a blow to my ego to let go of the money as it tangibly shows me that with my music, I am valued. But I am learning I have to have faith about this issue.
I’ve always worked very hard at all of my endeavors. But that isn’t enough. Having a mission isn’t enough. Even having a good mission isn’t enough. It has to be my good mission.
I can’t ask anyone’s opinion about what they think about this mission. Whatever their reaction is, I have to know if it is the right one or not. So I’m not writing this for anyone’s feedback or approval. I’m writing this more to explain to my friends who just would like to know what’s up.
But it is hard, so hard to be truthful about what that is and it takes courage to follow the mission. So here goes!
For 25 years I have seriously played music. I love it. I love my instrument. My harp is so very beautiful and inspiring. But I’ve had it with silently spending the bulk of my time learning and playing other people’s music. I’m done. I thought I could do both but it has been three months of a standstill and that is just no good.
At my Bright Green Bough CD release party I played one of my new songs for The Mermaid’s Daughter story/song project as a sneak peek at my next endeavor. I got more applause on that piece than any other I played that night. People were excited to hear more. I’d have to be nuts not to continue in this direction of course.
This is the picture Amber took of me playing this piece. It is also the BEST photo of the whole night. By the way, the talented Amber took many great photos that night.
It is a tad frightening there are so few role models to follow in the harp world about this. There is Joanna Newsom and…well there is Joanna Newsom. And lord, even though she is a great talent I do NOT want to be Joanna Newsom. Not my authentic style! And I am also too old to pull off playing in those cute micro short skirts.
So I’ll just have to be me and draw from a place of authenticity and go for it. I will probably feel like a big goofball for awhile while I write and compose until I play the new stuff for audiences. But you know (or maybe you didn’t), I am a big goofball, so that actually makes me kind of excited. Authenticity!
But there it is. I want to play and sing singer songwriter stuff that I write. For kids, and for adults. And to do that, I have to cut the playing out, at least for awhile. It’s too much to do both. I’ve tried for the last 2 months since after the CD release to train up and do both and I’m all blocked up.
I’m not worried you might think my new music will suck. First off, I won’t put anything out I think sucks!
But I guess the risk is that I will have to build momentum again for when I am out performing again. Will my friends still want to hear me?
Well, risks are risks. They do indeed suck. I do hope my friends will still want to hear me when I am ready to play out more and I guess that’s all I can do!
So, no Sunset Serenade in the park concerts, until I have at least an hour of my own material to share. That might be a few months. I will miss seeing my friends while playing.
But I have a new handy dandy HD video camera with a great mic. I have a You Tube channel and I intend to post regularly to http://www.youtube.com/southwestharp.
And I have the optimism of my authentic goofball self to fall back on. Hooray for that!
Oh I just love this! I so understand exactly where you are. And I really love the honesty with which you are meeting yourself, and the depth of your paying attention to – and honoring – what wants to come forward. CONGRATS and can’t wait to see what comes next for you. Beautiful and brave!
Thank you Trista! ❤
You go, Lorna. Feed your bliss. I recall hearing an interview with a classical guitarist who had left it behind to play her own compositions. She said she was tired of trying to ‘play other people’s music better than other people played other people’s music.’ That’s a valid reason to leave something behind and go off in another direction. Besides if you don’t change things up every 25 years or so, you might get stale.
Thanks Kilian! You are awesome and so smart and make me smile as always.
Thank you for your honesty and sharing. Hopefully your comments will help others as well, not necessarily just harpists/musicians. Struggles like the one you articulate apply to so many areas of life. Now, at what society calls retirement age, but in no way wanting to retire because I Iove working as a harpist at hospice and privately, etc., I struggle. And my husband has us on the road in the RV 5-6 months a year! So I am having to completely re-think who/what I am as a harpist, and come to terms and peace and a new kind of fulfillment. It isn’t being easy. So I honor your own efforts now, and will hold you in supportive thought and hope.
Thank you Carolyn! I think of you often on the road and wonder how you are doing and how your music is going. Can’t wait to see you again!