He asked me to write about the doubts and fears I faced while writing and recording FOUND. I laughed...what fears? Doubts...what are these things of which you speak? I wish. It was surprisingly easy to write about. In the end though I looked at the thorny topic of validation...where does it come from and on what or whom does it depend?
So, grab a hot or cold beverage and maybe a donut this week (you can walk it off later) and settle down for a wee read.
The other day I was chatting with a friend about the fine line walked by artists of every persuasion. Be it music or a visual medium, art is made to be shared. It is meant for an audience. Art is also an incredibly subjective animal, one persons “Amazing!” is another persons “What the?”
The question for any artist is ‘Where do I get validation from?’ Is it in the act of creating or is it dependant on the response of others.
When I started down the track of writing and recording a concept album, I had never considered this question. I was doing something that I believed wholeheartedly was an offering to the God I adore with every fibre of my being and to whom I owe my life, my art, my best endeavour.
During the two years it has taken to bring it to fruition, I have been faced with every doubt and fear I could have imagined…and probably more. Don’t get me wrong, creating the album has been a total joy. I’ve discovered a side to my creativity that I didn’t know was there and I’ve had a blast.
The doubts and fears have come on the days when I was not involved in the act of creation. The biggest fear…the one that has haunted me and that I have had to confront on more than one occasion is this; “What happens if no one likes it, if no one buys it and two years of my life have been for nothing?”
Doesn’t sound particularly Godly, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to it! I have had days where I have sat with these thoughts and let them overtake and overwhelm me.
Yet, from these doubts and fears I have emerged stronger. This is what I learnt. I have long sought validation from the wrong source. Instead of finding fulfillment in creating and sharing my expression of life through the music I had birthed, I measured its worth by the reactions of those around me. Honestly, the reactions haven’t been terrible…maybe they weren’t as effusive as I would have liked at times…but if there was one voice amongst the many that was negative…that was all I heard. If that voice was one I looked to for general validation…I was undone.
All sounds a bit depressing aye! But there is a big bright light on the horizon. I have realised that I am a created and creative being and that I am dearly loved by the most creative force in the universe. It may sound corny, but my music makes God smile! It’s true…ask him!
It’s in the act of creating that we are validated as artists. For me, I have created an album of love songs to God. I wanted to share different aspects of my relationship with my Heavenly Father and in the end, I wanted to sing to Him. It is in God that I find my validation, my reason for creating and the one to and for whom I sing.
My ultimate desire for FOUND is that others would find a connection with God through it. That others would discover the joy and adventure of living in communion with the Creator. The extent to which this happens is completely out of my control and no amount of worry or money spent on advertising will change that.
And anyway, at what point would I deem the album to be a success? Is it in the first week, when I receive a letter from a stranger telling me that the music took them into the Presence of God… or after 500 sales, 2,000 sales…when?
Success for me was having the courage to release FOUND to the world…everything else is gravy!