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.
When I first started out in music it was only about creating and performing. I was so nervous when I got on stage at Bath’s notorious pub, Hat and Feather (sadly closed in 2004). This was my first time on stage, first time singing in front of an audience. 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.
Playing with a band (which I did last year) shakes off the nerves a little and fills your boots with the very addictive adrenaline rush. This comes from feeding off the energy every great audience gives to encourage their artist of choice. The audiences are my life-source on stage. My fans are my patrons.
Now I’m going solo and my Dark Stars are my family, friends, fans and YOU reading this. I’m starting this project knowing there is hardly any money to be made in the music industry these days. Those ‘glory-days’ are gone. A new era has been ushered in and artists such as Amanda Palmer and Iggy Pop are talking about it. Artists such as Björk are doing it. Fellow musicians BirdEatsBaby and She Makes War are making it happen. I’m learning quickly that I am part of this collective of artists; we create and give freely.
When I mention free I’m referring to the FREEdom. Now there is another angle to this word that almost feels dirty to mention in our music communities free music.
Iggy Pop names the elephant in the room when it comes to 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. There seems to be no right or wrong way for an artist to give access to their work either through payment or for free. However, is the latter sustainable? Also it seems like the corporate route steals creative intimacy.
As I approach the release of the next new single I wade into the most debated topic amongst musicians today. I give you this taster of a track that feels like it was given to me; like a gift. To package this gift for you to enjoy inevitably includes expenses.
But I will 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.
ps ☆★ ☆★
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