Originality and how falling out with my own music made me appreciate it more!

So what do Groucho Marx, a difficult drumming score and CRAZY eye-lashes have in common? Well, somehow or another their paths crossed in a small, two bedroomed house on the east coast of Ireland in 2011, when I set out to create something original! 🤔

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Music ‘originality’ is highly questionable. After all, there are only 8 notes in an octave and 12 keys to choose from. On top of that there are fundamental rules about how we move around those keys and notes. So inevitably, music is repeated and copied and repeated and copied and repeated and copied…. Most music we listen to reminds us of another song or piece of music we listened to, so being TRULY original is very, very difficult.

I released ‘Moody Blues‘ in February 2011 and I was super proud of it. It did very well for me and received lots of praise and radio play, becoming a very popular choice on morning radio for its’ energy and message. However, less than 3 years later, I actually didn’t want to perform it anymore. I was a little embarrassed by it. The cynic that had begun developing in me was not, excuse the pun ‘in the mood’ for it anymore. It was a little too cheesy for my liking and it hadn’t opened any ‘serious’ doors for me. Embarrassed as I am to say it, I didn’t care for it anymore and I left it out of many if not most performances.

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Fast forward 7 years and naturally life has changed me. It changes everyone year by year, experience after experience. My focus on ‘serious’ doors opening for me and being levitated into music industry fame pissed off about 2 years ago thank God, when real life came along and bit me in the butt a few times. Life softened me, despite facing some of my hardest moments and eventually I remembered to look at the whole, sweet, glorious picture.

I had become a musician who forgot the importance of being a creator. I had become a musician who depended on likes and shares and being ‘cool’. As much as I tried not to be musically driven by what people liked and what 2FM or Today FM were playing, I tried to be part of that gang. I burned out trying to fit in. Last night funnily enough, I had a dream about meeting a group of girls who I went to secondary school with. And guess what, they were the same bunch of assholes in the dream as they were in secondary school. Only, this time I was SO relieved not to be part of their gang.

Somehow or another, Groucho Marx, a crazy set of eyelashes and a nifty little drumming score were put together because I had ideas. Musical ones, lyrical ones, visual ones. And with a determination to see that vision through, ‘Moody Blues‘ came to life. Of course someone has already sung some of the lyrics and there are lots of chord progressions and melodies that have been played a million times before but the way in which those elements are presented and arranged because of the vision behind it are what make it original. Anyone can reproduce something that’s already done by changing it up a bit but originality lies in the commitment to a new way of presenting and arranging the musical content.

<I’m very proud of the song despite there being things about it that aren’t all that ‘cool’ anymore or ever maybe 😮 Because art is really just a moment in time, original because of the creator not because of the tools. Credit to Martin Quinn in Jam Studios for his incredible ability to produce and understand my mad ideas in studio and the very generous team behind the video production who survived on tea and crisp sandwiches. Finally to the beautiful venue that is Darver Castle in Co.Louth for letting us use their home and venue for our fun and games.

Thank you, chat soon x

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‘Feeling great, eating ice-cream’..The sadness behind the LOL’s :(

Because of the nature of my work, I’ve had a lot of time off in the past few weeks. It has given me a chance to be still. I regularly sit on my own just doing nothing. (I know, I sound like a complete crazy woman). Other times I write music or read, maybe make some notes on projects and ideas that I would like to work on later in the year. I’ve enjoyed just recollecting and reflecting on my life and I’ve also enjoyed being ‘present’ in the presence of others. There are many great benefits to having this time to myself and it really gives me an opportunity to take stock of situations, relationships and life going on around me. By getting out of the rat race for a while, the pace of my life has slowed down. I can take more in and I can give more out. However, what I’ve seen and heard over the past few weeks has really upset me and I felt I needed to address it in a blog post, even though my blog is generally about all things musical!

I’ve been so, so saddened by the pain and worry that so many people are carrying around. So many of the people I’ve been in company with over the past few weeks are really hurting inside, in despair or lonely. I’ve asked my husband if he felt it too and he was certainly aware of it. Perhaps because I have had time to sit with it, I am really feeling it and taking it in and most importantly questioning it. I am very much aware that I am off the conveyor belt madness right now and I can see all the people in my life who are running like mad to keep up with it. It leaves them no time whatsoever to deal with themselves, to process an emotion that came completely unexpectedly, to reflect on how they feel about their work or their relationship etc etc. There just isn’t the time! #ticktock

Busy

Another thing I’ve really noticed is that people expect so much more from each other all the time. Within work, family and day to day life, we demand more and more. In turn, we expect more from ourselves and by not fulfilling all of the demands we put on ourselves, we end up feeling totally inadequate and often then resentful of others.

I believe that the root to a lot of this demand and expectation comes from the ‘illusion’ or as I like to call it ‘the delusion’. It takes less than five minutes on social media to go from being in a good, positive and focused head-space to suddenly feeling like everyone else’s life is so much better than our own. Right now, I look ridiculous. Pyjama bottoms and slippers, hair all over the place, stuffing my face with a toastie. You don’t need to know that though and even better, I can upload a photo right now, one that was taken 2 years ago, contoured up to the eyeballs looking like the world is at my feet and caption it ‘Feeling Amazeballs, Life is Great’. And within a split second, you are now part of the illusion that everything is great in my life and I look 10 years younger than I actually am. And I can do that again and again and again and again until eventually you have a perception of me that is way, way off anything close to the truth. We become less connected to each other, with less in common every day with lives that are illusion’s apart.

Fact is, we all need each other as much if not more than we ever did before. We all have challenges, that part of it has never and will never change. What has changed, and it’s only my opinion, is that we are less aware of ourselves and of each other. We are strangers who see pictures and posts of each other looking our best, feeling great, eating ice-cream, LOL… How can any of us truly be honest about the crap day we’ve had, or the relationship breakdown, or the overwhelming debt etc, if we are conditioning ourselves to share only the days when we look and feel amazing? It worries me that kids nowadays value themselves on likes and shares and the illusion that we as adults consciously create is actually their reality.

I know it is totally unusual for me to write about subjects like this but I have to say it how I see it. Many people are sad and very much alone. If we can perhaps slow things down and be a little more present with ourselves first, then maybe we can start to reach out again and connect. Telling it how it really is and not courtesy of the app that gives you a thousand options on how you feel or look at any particular moment in time…

The Invitation Quote