Today I intend to put pen to paper and write lyrics.
Ten minutes have passed and I’m staring down at an empty page (soundtrack to this blog is brought to you by Sonic Youth) What’s happening here? Am I not a songwriter?
Three hours have passed and I have done a whole morning’s work of thinking yet not one word has hit the page. The emptiness of the page is filling my brain with endless possibilities of themes, ideas and situations. All of which are happening in my life right now. And now the words FEAR NO MORE come to mind.
The Sea of Eyes
Starting out in music is all about creating and performing. Getting on stage at Bath’s notorious pub, Hat and Feather (sadly closed in 2004) for the first time on stage and singing in front of an audience, I was utterly nervous. I became transfixed by the sea of eyes staring back at me that I forgot all the lyrics to a song. I froze like a rabbit caught in headlights.
Where are we now?
Now the Dark Stars are my family, friends, fans and YOU reading this. The music industry has changed and there is hardly any money to be made. The ‘glory-days’ are over! But there is a new era being ushered in and artists like Amanda Palmer and Iggy Pop are talking about it. Björk is doing it. Fellow musicians BirdEatsBaby and She Makes War are making it happen. This collective thinking amongst artists is what we have become part of where we create and give freely.
It seems like the word ‘free’ takes on a new meaning in the musical communities – free music. Iggy Pop addressing the notion of creating music and giving it away for ‘free’.
“……..people who don’t want the free U2 download are trying to say, don’t try to force me. And they’ve got a point. Part of the process when you buy something from an artist. It’s a kind of anointing, you are giving people love. It’s your choice to give or withhold. You are giving a lot of yourself, besides the money. But in this particular case, without the convention, maybe some people felt like they were robbed of that chance and they have a point. It’s not the only point. These are not bad guys. But now, everybody’s a bootlegger, but not as cute, and there are people out there just stealing the stuff and saying don’t try to force me to pay. And that act of thieving will become a habit and that’s bad for everything. So we are exchanging the corporate rip off for the public one. Aided by power nerds. Kind of computer Putins. They just wanna get rich and powerful. And now the biggest bands are charging insane ticket prices or giving away music before it can flop, in an effort to stay huge. And there’s something in this huge thing that kind of sucks.” Iggy Pop, BBC Music 2014
I wrestle with the concept of charging money for my music. Frankly I can’t afford to keep creating music, working with highly esteemed artists, film directors and producers let alone pay a marketing and PR team. This is my current Fear Factor. Is there a right or wrong way for an artist to give access to their work? Is the latter sustainable?
As I approach the release of the next new single I wade into the most debated topic amongst musicians today. It feels as this track was gifted to me. To package this gift for you to enjoy inevitably includes expenses.
I fear no more.
I have you.
I have this opportunity and I will give freely.
All you need to decide is how VALUABLE the work is to you.
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