As a child, I had troubles sleeping. I remember I used to get up in the middle of the night, and go bother my elder brothers saying that I couldn’t sleep because of the music.
Asked my brothers half astonished, half pissed.
“Yes, I have a music in my head, can’t get no sleep.”
And it was true, probably a music heard on tv or radio in the afternoon would still be swimming in my head, trying to let me know how important she was to me.
So, I started to play piano at 9 and guitar at 15 and never stopped since.
In my twenties I integrated a few rock bands and started to hit Paris bars and night clubs stages as a guitarist. I loved it, and as I was basically (and still am) an introverted and shy guy, I thought that I had found my place on the stage, behind the singer, behind the drummer, hidden in a corner near to the wall. After all I was the guitarist.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, i would still hear a music in my head not letting me sleep or rest, exactly like when I was a child.
And from time to time, i could get up, pick my guitar and start to play the music that had come visit me in the middle of the night. I even would record myself to keep track of that inspiration spark, promising to myself that I would work on it, the day after. But all I could do instead was oversleep in the weekends and go to work during the week.
Time passed, and one day I found myself in my thirthies, still playing guitar for this or that singer, always in the corner next to the wall. I still loved it, but I started to feel somehow unsatisfied, I started to think that I needed to express myself differently, I needed to speak up the music I’d had in my head all my life.
Curiously, in that same period, a person who I had recently met, offered me a book about creativity named “The Artist Way”, which is a personal development program in 12 weeks especially created for artists. I started to follow the program.
3 things jumped out at me quite quickly.
The first was that even being shy and introvert, once in front of the blank page, I had a lot of words inside that wanted to come out and tell stories through the lyrics of my songs.
The second was that somehow, incredibly, I felt ready to show up. Astonishing and energizing at the same time.
And the third was the fear, absolute pure fear, of letting my comfort zone behind me and walk into the light of a scene to express myself.
So, the way I survived the fight between the need and desire to express myself through music and my fear to show up, has been a process of a couple of years, full of precious experience.
Thanks to “The artist’s way” teachings, I’ve learned how to listen the ruthless voice of the “Inner critic”, a pitiless monster judging and killing every breath of creativity we want to take and I’ve learned how to reduce him to silence, when I needed to move forward and work. I also learned how to talk gently and to reassure my “Inner artist”, a child who wants to have fun with music.
Thanks to this work, I’ve had the courage to dive deep in my emotions when I started to write “Wake Up”, a song describing an absence in my life, and at the same time the fact of daring to create musical compositions where a guitar ballad meets the dancefloor beats of an electro synthesizer. I just did what inspiration wanted me to do, even if it was unusual and causing me doubts and fear of exposure.
I’ve immortalized this process in articles, pictures and confessions on my blog, that has been a witness and also a part of the flow.
Last February I released my first EP and eventually got up onstage, into the spotlight and at the center of the scene, and gave a voice to the project I’d worked on for the last few years.
Since this adventure has begun I feel transformed and renewed, as if I had finally decided to live my life.
So, how my life has changed and what have I learned from this artistic experience?
1 First of all, my perception of time going by has changed. I’m no more waiting for chances and opportunities to come to me, I spend every free minute composing, and practicing, or blogging about my creative process, or finding new gigs for my show (being a one man band could be very demanding). I’ve learned to give a meaning to the things that I do, and I only spend time for things, people and projects that makes sense to me.
2 My life has an order, I play and perform, I have a family life, and nonetheless it feels like i go with the flow in the chaos of a continuous creation. The advantage is that I have a routine, but not at all a boring one.
3 I know myself much better than before. When I was recording my songs at the studio, a sound engeneer was with me on the other side of the glass, but at the same time I was completely alone, with my emotions and the intentions that I wanted to put into the words. To Write already means diving into the self, but to interpret is really being naked in front of yourself. You can’t generate an emotion within the public if you’re not feeling it yourself first. And feeling, I’ve learned, means knowing what makes that specific emotion, and what I am made of too.
4 Having been able to realize my first personal artistic project has had a huge positive impact on my self esteem and self confidence. I’ve learned that the only person who can authorize myself to expression is me, and this is incredibly empowering, not only from an artistic point of view.
So, in conclusion, I would really recommend to all of you that have ever had in your head a melody, of some words for a poem, to take a guitar and start to play, take a pen and write. You could really be amazed by the gifts that following your inspiration could bring to your artistic and personal life.