ISLANDS - a note about me and my music (feb.2016)

this album represents the beginning of what i hope will be a life-changing year for me.

the fact of the matter is: i’ve been afraid. afraid of a lot of things, but i think most importantly and most fundamentally, i’ve been afraid of rejection and having that rejection lead to doubt about who i really am and why i really matter. i know with every cell in my body and every thought in my brain that my gift in this lifetime is the ability to create and perform music. i know this. but sometimes… MOST of the time… i think the world doesn’t know it and it never will. and then i think “well why the fuck do i care what people think about my music and my talent?” and then i answer myself “because you seek validation, like we all do, but you do it through your gift, which is a curse.” and on top of that, i’ve chosen to try to make MONEY using my gift; and more than money, a living. and then i beat myself up for not being more confident and driven. and then i wonder why i’m not those things and if i deserve success at all. and i wonder what does "success" even mean?? and then i get sad because i realize i am BEYOND fortunate and have literally everything a man could want and yet all i think about is what i’m lacking. self-doubt and shame. hope and then fear. motivation. distraction. confidence. insecurity. round and round i go. where it stops, nobody knows. oh no wait. i know. depression. it stops on depression. ding ding!

a few years ago i had the magical privilege of being in the band of a very successful pop star, and i got to experience (or at least witness) just about every career highlight a professional musician could ask for. and we were all best friends, touring around the world, making music together. and i had an identity. a purpose. a sense of self and an answer to the questions “what do you do for a living?” and “what have you been up to lately?” but, like all things, that experience came to an end. and when it did, i was so used to the breezes up on that mountain top that i was sure the wind would carry me away when i stepped off the peak. well it didn’t.

as a solo artist, i finally felt the creative satisfaction that i always yearned for, before and after my band experiences. i felt like i was finally the person i was meant to be. no longer 20 feet to the right of my dream: i was in the spotlight. but this time, there was no spotlight. and no one in the audience. and the name on the marquis was misspelled. and basically, like the emotionally under-developed touring musician i was / am, i took it all personally. i took the difference in commercial successes between me and my peers as reflections of our different worths. and i was worth the least. i questioned if i ever deserved the successes i’d had, and wondered if i’d ever receive them again. and all the while, i was equating downloads and show turnouts and Facebook likes and retweets with my sense of self-worth. my sense of achievement and accolade. combine that with some male hubris and the jagged edges of a shattered mid 30s singer/songwriter ego and you’ve got yourself a tough pill to swallow. 

and it all hit me at the beginning of this year. this sense of “something has to change.”  i spent most of last year deciding if i still wanted to be a musician. like i had a choice. ha. but still, i was over it. at least i was over it the way i had been doing it: struggling. worrying. stressing. fear-based. always on my tippy toes trying to reach someone or something that was just out of reach when the whole time it’s right behind you. caring about people who might not like me. or worse yet, caring about people who might not care at all. i’ve been negligent of my fans. i’ve spent countless hours trying to figure out how to get new ones, and how to “go viral” and blow up and get more people to like me and all that nonsense. when in fact, i should’ve been cultivating the relationships that you amazing fans have already created. you are all i will ever need. and the ones who’ve been there since day 1 (you know who you are and i do too) are the ones that i want to care about, if i’m going to care about anyone else but me at all. and to be honest, for now: i think i need to care about only me. and i think my fans would understand :)

so to that effect, i’m gonna get a little DGAF this year with my hang-ups. i had someone tell me that the person i am when i am in my best moments on stage - that is, someone totally vulnerable and present - is the kind of person i need to strive to be in all aspects of my life. that is my frequency of truth. that is when i am shining my brightest light. and i really agreed with her. vulnerability is strength. letting down the walls because anyone who’s gonna come in is gonna have to wade through your moat of love and be baptized in it. no lies and nothing hidden. no envy. no fear. (thanks, radin ;) … and i know this is something that one tends to achieve over time. i’m sure for some people it can happen in one glorious moment, but that hasn’t happened to me. so i’m taking the steps to start. and one of my first steps is getting out all this damn music!

i can’t say that i don’t care if people like it. that will never truly go away, and i think that’s good. it holds me to a standard to make music that does two things: grooves me and grooves someone else. that’s the kind of music i ultimately want to make. but i need to learn how to do it without attaching myself to the results too much. i need to be vulnerable, and strong. sometimes fans write me letters asking for advice on how to have a music career or how i “made it” and i’m always shocked by that. i spend 95% of my life thinking i’m a 35 year old failure. ok, maybe 90%. (hi mom. i’m ok. no need to worry.) but seriously, it’s all just perspective. and my perspective the last few years has been so off and so negative and so NOT helpful… well, i’m done with it. it makes as much sense to believe i am a badass. and to know that i am talented. and to be proud of all my songs, regardless of whether or not they make me any money or new fans. and to be proud of my musical achievements and to own them. and to know that i deserve good things, and to accept them without shame. and to love and accept myself.

my goal is to put out 10 albums this year of all the aforementioned music, curated and grouped depending on my weird musical ways. my goal is also to let go. and not be afraid of how amazing i can actually be. i think we all fear the greatest versions of ourselves, and the ones who own the greatest versions of themselves instead of hiding from it are the ones who succeed at living great lives. and i think the greatest version of myself is something fucking spectacular. i wanna meet that guy. i wanna hear his records. i wanna meet his fans. i wanna hold him and tell him he’s awesome.

thanks for reading. thanks for listening.  and thanks for writing to me. we are all connected. “no man is an island, jack”