After a long week of work and events, I'm finally left in peace with my thoughts. Over the last month, music has come up a countless amount of times. I'm not talking about just music itself. I listen to music all day everyday, so of course music is a constant. What I'm talking about is music as a larger part of my life. On Dec. 28th, I sang at an open mic night for the first time in over a year (I can't remember past about a year). Since then, for some reason, I've gotten a plethora of comments, some random, some reasonable, encouraging me to refocus my career on music. The more comments I get, the more they eat at me. Allow me to give you a little back story.
Since I can remember, I've wanted to build a career as a recording artist. I started singing in the church choir at age four and never stopped. I sang in various gospel choirs, classical choirs, and eventually started singing in school talent shows. My first solo performance was in sixth grade. I sang "Like A Star" by Corrine Bailey Rae at the school talent show and surprised even my family. As I neared the end of my high school career, I began writing and recording. Initially I worked with other local artists as co-writer and featured artist on their tracks. A few years later, during my early college career, I decided it was time for me to release my own debut project. I recorded and released "Outta Time," my first recorded tack, and never released another.
"Outta Time" was, and still is, a decent track, especially considering the age and stage at which I wrote and recorded it. The issue was my lack of confidence in my work. I absolutely hated any and every piece I wrote after "Outta Time." I took music classes, including music composition, every year for the remainder of my college career, but nothing I produced met the standard I set for myself. After college, I bought an acoustic guitar, thinking that maybe I was having trouble writing lyrics to the beats I bought, and that if I wrote my own music to go behind my lyrics, it might solve the problem. Seeing as I never made time to learn to play the guitar, that didn't work. (Don't judge me. I still have my guitar and want to learn.)
Even more, I've danced since I can remember. I've danced every genre there is as far as traditional and modern western genres. When I went to college, though I didn't dance on a team or perform anymore, I took ballet and dance history classes. At some point toward the end of college, however, I gradually cut off all music, besides listening on a daily basis, to pursue my back-up-career in Public Relations. Truthfully, I don't even allow myself to enjoy listening to music like I used to.
The recent comments about music have forced me to face two difficult realities...
1. I did something I said I'd never do: relinquish my passion in music and the arts.
2. I may be struggling in my career and happiness because I started ignoring my passion to secure a "good" nine-to-five.
Don't get me wrong, I was never about the struggling artist life, but I started focusing so much on being a professional and trying to make it in the PR world that I forgot that PR was meant to be back-up-plan. Through the struggle of advancing in my PR career, I've taken away the one earthly thing that has always been my peace and my constant: music. It's frustrating and sad to realize, but I'm glad it hit me sooner than later.
I'm still not sure I'll pursue a career as a recording artist again, that will take a lot more thinking, but I know for sure that I'm not going to deprive myself any longer of the joy that music and the arts provides me. I believe God gives us all passions that serve as His gift to us, our earthly peace. Mine is music and by straying from it, I only hurt myself.
In conclusion, ladies and gents, please don't suffocate yourselves by focusing so much on life and adulating that you forget what really makes you happy. It may not be a career, but it's there for a reason. I have promised myself that as I become more available and financially able, I am going to be intentional about immersing myself in my passion. More immediately, I'm going to take the time to listen to music as deeply as I used to and post more involving music on social media. Do the same for yourselves and hold me accountable!