Reflection

At a time in my life where I believe am learning the most lessons, one of the lessons that stands out is the lesson in reflection. Reflection is unique in that in order to be able to reflect, the event must be in the past. We must be past the event before we can learn from it.  This can get frustratingly confused with regret.

When people say ‘never regret’, I cant help but think that this is impossible as undeniably, certain decisions we make would most certainly have had a better outcome if we had made them differently. Despite this, my belief is that certain events are inevitable and we must seek to take what we can from these in order to grow. The negative feeling toward a certain decision is balanced on how quickly we can accept it has happened and learn from it, to better future decisions.

Reflection in this way is looking at the past from a vantage point with a more matured state of mind. Through doing this, we map the way our life should go moving forward, at least this is my understanding of it. Recently I have used reflection considerably. At the time this blog is being documented, the world is in a state of pandemic. We are in a place that we have never been before to this extent, locked away with limited social interaction and only our previous ‘experiences’ to evaluate. We are in a place of standstill, not much is ‘going on’ in our lives. I ascribe this to my deepened state of evaluation and reflection.

Songs are vehicles of reflection. I write stories, stories of people learning, or not learning. Stories of the journeys of other people and myself. Sometimes these people don’t exist, only in my mind. It’s like I am trying to predict the lessons I might have to learn. Subconsciously, this could could be to prevent me from having to learn them. It’s likely that I will still go through these experiences and learn these lessons in my own time. I guess trying to reflect from a place that you have never been is difficult; maybe my songs don’t make sense. If you have been through these lessons and listen to my songs, perhaps you can see that it is written by a person prematurely. When I look back in the future, I will write a blog about that exact thing.

My EP ‘The Quiet Kind’ is written about lessons I have already learned. Ironically I wrote it while I was learning those lessons, this is why some of the lyrics mean something different to me now than they did then. This is well detailed in my previous blogs.

At the age of 26 I know who I am, at least it think I do. I know what I want to do and how I want to help people. I hope I can reflect in the future and realise that, at this time now, I was right. Hopefully I have learned all my lessons and I am fully qualified to take on the life journey ahead, although I am pretty sure I have a long way to go.

Perspective

To say that life is what we think it is, to me, would be an understatement. As I grow, I come to realise that we are only what we think we are, we can do only what we think we can do, and if we think something, it is. 

Imagine you are on a beach; you are on a beach. Imagine you are the most important person in the world; you are the most important person in the world. We only have toilet roll stuck to our shoe if we see it, if we don’t, then its not there. Imagine what it’s like to be happy, you are happy. Have you ever woken from a dream thinking it is real, that’s because it is. At least in your perspective, and that’s all that matters.

We are scientifically only subatomic atoms in space, but only when we think about it.

This lesson is something I have learned recently although it has always played a role for me. If only I had learned earlier that I can do anything if I believe. That doesn’t matter because now, I know and so now I’ll make things happen. Success is already achieved if, by looking at yourself, you are happy that your inner-self is reflective of what is achievable. I have already succeeded, as my mind is content therefore I am not trying to be successful, I am.

Sometimes I imagine what the perfect song would sound like. By doing that, I am writing the perfect song. Live the life you want to live and you are living the life you want to live. You could say that this is too influenced by finance, yes but only if the life you want to live is determined by that. This is dangerous way to ‘perceive’ this life as it rests too much on external factors. If you draw a picture of the perfect life looking something like the day-to-day; then you are living the perfect life. I am not saying that everyday I wake up and believe i’m living the perfect life. We all have our days in which our constructed view of perfection is dissimilar to the day we are having. I just use these days as fuel to advance a particular goal the next day. In this way, perception of fortune itself can attract better fortune through our actions.

Perspective is a tool we can use to our advantage, to conquer our psyche. 

How does this relate to music? Well music can shape perspective. If we hear a happy song then quite often we can’t help but feel happy. I want to move people with my music, I want to shape perspective. I want to be a creator of one of the only sensory constructs that has the ability to almost instantaneously better thought or equally, make people think that they can and that they will.  You just need to think about it.

The City

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a dreamer. My whole life I have dreamt of a life in the ‘big city’. A life that I glamourize in my mind and have previously believed to be out of reach. I am a home bird. I find comfort in security and crave family life and connection. I have talked about the contradiction between my outer personality and my inner most thoughts many times in this blog; I reference being an extroverted introvert. This oxymoron is prevalent in my life and has, in a lot of ways, has held me back. Difficulty stepping out of my comfort zone keeps me stuck in a circle of continuous instant gratification, although seemingly and instantaneously beneficial to me, the benefit wears off within time and makes me crave more. 

Like a yo-yo dieter; I have often craved the ‘quick fix’; the method that brings me the most, in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of discomfort. It is easy to frequent the comfort zone and find enjoyment in ways that have always served me well however this prevents me from diving deeper. I believe that I have only scratched the surface of truly changing lives through my music.

‘The City’ is a song about my desire to delve deeper below the surface in to a territory that I have never been before. ‘The City’ represents what surrounds my comfort zone and beyond.

‘The city sings to me at night, behind the waves of pretty lights, you made your mark on me’

This lyric references times in which I have as much as stepped slightly out of my comfort zone and discovered fragments of what I have only ever imagined. These memories always resonate in my mind as being extremely difficult yet undeniably rewarding.  

‘I have been longing for the day, you’ll take me outside of this place, it’s just a part of me, a pretty part of me’

This lyric touches on the side of my personality that is drawn to discomfort, although only small, this character trait is ‘pretty’ and manipulative to my introverted self. I talked about this in my write up of the EP ‘The Quiet Kind’. It mentions how my need for acceptance is a tool I was ascribed at birth to push my own boundaries. I guess we can draw similarities to a devil and angel here, although in a slightly different context. It paints a picture of a shy person wishing that their inner confidence will take over and subjugate fear.

‘My eyes are open now to you, the cars don’t pass me by’

Interestingly these lyrics mean something different to me now then they did when I wrote this song. When written, this section of the song referenced the callings of the city as being false and a juxtaposition of what it offered on the outside. At the time I had visited many city based open mic nights and I had never been overly impressed with its return on investment. I often left disappointed with having waited hours to play 2 songs, through poor sound equipment, and to a seemingly unwilling audience. On reflection I can see why I left underwhelmed; I had never really pushed myself to interact, to engage and honestly to just be myself. 

‘You’ll soon be open to the truth’

Whilst before this lyric referenced ‘The City’ as being false, now it references how my lesson is learned. I am now open to the truth, a truth I only found with time. Life is a journey that we are all on.

There are not many lyrics in this song however the track itself serves as its own lyric and forms it’s own message. The track picks up and forms a rhythm representing a busy city. Imagine driving through a busy city late at night, the lights passing you by and creating streams of blurring imagery. This was composed to create a feeling of freedom. The sudden change in tempo back to a slow, almost still beat, represents the reality of ‘The City’ sinking in for myself. 

‘But don’t leave me so high on silent times; and don’t forget I’m just The Quiet Kind’

The lyric here during this slow section represents the times that you remember you are anxious and that you shouldn’t feel free, inhibitions take over and you remember to draw back in to yourself.  It is here that these aforementioned lyrics form truth in the ways in which I now explore differently.

The track ends on the lyric ‘The City’ ringing out in the background, representing how ‘The City’ still always calls me, enticing me. Perhaps my new-found reality will lead me back there.

Wide Open Spaces

Like many of the songs off ‘The Quiet Kind’ EP, ‘Wide Open Spaces’ operates the machinery within a vulnerable space in my mind. It is the end product of a sense of fear, lack of control and frustration. The song itself is my reaction to an event that happened in 2014, the event itself isn’t important however it changed the course of reality, at least for myself. I believe that within our lives, there comes a moment in which we realise that things are not always ok. This moment shakes us to the core and leaves a scar on our sense of security.

 ‘Lost in imperfection, lost in this world’ , ‘I was born a Friday child in a land full of greed’

These lyrics sum up a story of being born in to an imperfect world. A Friday child is loving and giving, unfortunately not everyone is, always. As a child this is alien to us, at least for the majority. We are sheltered until we grow capable of processing potentially damaging realities. 

‘Nights full of madness, nights full of sin’

Like 9/11 was for so many, this event was for me, exceedingly frightening. Although it didn’t affect me on a personal level, it made me desperate to examine the forces of good and evil. I remember this time very well, a time of a lot of change I my life, and a time that I learned the most about myself.

The songs questions all that there is to question about humanity.

 ‘Why do we leave, wide open spaces in between our love?’

This is the crux of the song. An unanswerable question. 

‘Torn away from silence, and told I was free’

This lyric references being born from a silent womb in to a world that is unknowingly unfair, prejudiced and dangerous. We are stripped of our comfort and thrust, almost unimaginably in to life. Birth is, unfortunately, not always the most traumatic part of existence.

‘I became to fear the world, and now I believe’

This lyric brings the song full circle. Earlier on it is mentioned how we are ‘swore to believe’; we are lied to and brainwashed in to believing that everything is good. Through experience however we have our eyes opened and believe in a different reality. This time however we do truly believe. This brainwashing is alluded to in a later lyric;

‘Blind to all the sadness, blind and decieved’.

The song represents a hapless awakening. Our deception during childhood is ill-fated, we are destined to find the truth, and it is through this that we ironically become free, like promised.

True To Me

Family is a blessing, a blessing we are fortunately born with, an unbreakable bond. Family brings unconditional love, opportunity for growth and is unknowingly deep rooted within ourselves. My family is the opitome of this. Love is entrenched within the veins of every person in my family, we side with the force of love and selflessness. It may be easy to assume that ‘True To Me’ is eluding to a particular character trait within myself. This is, although partly true, not the full picture of the song. In fact, I wrote this song about how this undeniable force of love is entrenched in the history of my family. It is a song that impacts me more everyday than any other song I have ever written. It reminds me to be true, to be faithful and caring for all around me. This force is more powerful than any other force I come across.

The song takes the listener through a journey of the generations. It starts with the vision of a Grandchild visiting their elderly Grandparent. She reminds them of this inner force and to be ‘True To Me’, as a metaphor for family values.

“You came to, see her, she’s older, she’s frail”

It takes you through a story of this Grandchild going on to raise a child.

“It’s Summer, you had a son in Autumn, you brought him up in Spring”

She takes them to visit their elderly Great-Grandparent in the same way they did and the same experience happens between these two members of the family, despite the larger generation gap.

Throughout the song there are many metaphors, including ‘growing like a seed’ and ‘hold her inside’, these elude to this ingrained family bond and history of a powerful force of love.

The bridge in the song is a celebration of family being there for each other, during any difficult time.

“I will find him somewhere cold… bring your body close and your heart to me”

‘True To Me’ describes core values, values that are taught to each generation of the family, not through particular acts, but through the simple sharing of love. I describe love as a ‘force’, this is because it will never be broken, it is grounded far too deep in our roots.

Lifeboat

It’s definitely easy to define ‘Lifeboat’ as a simple love song and in many ways it is. It encompasses everything that your typical love song possesses. Lyrically it is apothegmatic, concise and easy to understand. When I wrote ‘Lifeboat’ I wanted to celebrate a personal love in its most simple form, despite the love not being your ‘typical’ love. 

We all now that love comes in many shapes, forms and colours. My first love didn’t break this rule. A man older than me, with more life experience, and more ‘colour’ to his life. I was a blank canvas; I grew to find that our thoughts and points of view varied dramatically with this difference in background. Love opens your eyes; it gives you two pairs of eyes with which to see.  Lifeboat is an expression of misunderstood love, frustration and an innate need for it to be accepted. In many ways through this song I can remember a time in which I thought ‘I was right’ and that ‘we will show you’, expressed in the lyric ‘he’s a soldier for the blind’ and ‘he’s and innocent on the run’… I can’t say that I ever experienced a time in which our point was proven, instead in our ever-evolving relationship, I am learning more each day. My thoughts aren’t exactly the same anymore. I came to realize the only person you need to prove anything to is yourself. I know where my love lies and who is my ‘lifeboat’ is and that is all that matters.

Lifeboat expresses naivety in an early stage of a relationship but encompasses and heartfelt conviction of pure love, love without terms and conditions. Although the song describes a love personal to me, it is a comprehensive view of love as a whole, in general and in broader terms. Who defines love? Individually we define love in our own selves. In the same way we define everything in our own minds.

The Quiet Kind

Irony is the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or empathetic effect. In a lot of ways, ‘The Quiet Kind’ is an ironic statement to make as my album title. Throughout my life, as mentioned, I have sought opportunity to perform and expose my extroverted qualities. There are many aspects of my personality that you could ascribe to an underlying extroverted personality however when I delve deeper in to my psyche I find almost the exact opposite.

I have learned throughout my life that quite often what we see on the surface of an individual is the direct opposite of what lies beneath. Almost a positive reaction to qualities they may lack or a negative reaction those they possess. For a long time in my life I ascribed my need for acceptance as negative trait I was given at birth however I believe now that it was a tool I was given to combat introversion and a trait I was assigned to push the boundaries of myself. Being an introvert is sometimes deceptive in itself and for this reason, the title ‘The Quiet Kind’, is in fact, not an ironic statement, it is a vehicle to expose the true nature of myself. I will talk about individual songs in my later blogs however a comprehensive description of the album lies within this description, particularly in the song ‘The City’.

I find that song-writing is a process in which I learn about myself. It is through the act of writing a song that I explain certain parts of myself or the reasons behind certain events that have happened in my life. It is I suppose then ‘ironic’ that this journey is something I am sharing with the world. Perhaps from this we will all learn more about ourselves.

The Early Years

How do I begin to describe my early years? I can only find words that describe a simple feeling of warmth, compassion and fun. When I think of my early years, I can only remember ‘a feeling’ as opposed a distinct bank of memories… I guess you could say it all intertwines in to a block of enjoyment and outright ‘sound mind’. Everything was just ok… it wasn’t even anything, it just was.

Being a child certainly fuelled my passion for performance. It is ingrained, I just don’t remember a time when I wasn’t performing, either as an athlete or on my own stage. I didn’t just gain joy from it as my life was joyful as it was, I gained acceptance, a place in the world, ‘the future star’. Being a child however did not fuel my passion for songwriting; it is what came after my childhood that did. As a direct result of my early years, however, I was given the opportunity to form shaped opinions and feelings about the world from the perspective of someone who had it all, no reason to be angry, scared or misplaced.

It would be fair to say I lived a sheltered life way in to my early teens. I didn’t have to have a reason to do anything, if I wanted to do it I would unless I wasn’t allowed. I always knew this was for my own good. This led me in to my adult life focussing on things that made me happy, regardless of what anyone else may think. As I developed however I began to realise that this wasn’t the usual path. I realised that at some point I should have noticed differences in myself and either changed them or rebelled. I hadn’t experienced either of these, I was just me, simple. Questioning this thought lead me down a path of wanting to feel more ‘like everyone else’ however in my performance fuelled way, that wasn’t enough. I had to be better, to be smarter, to be thinner, to be perfect.

The time between then and (to some extent) now served a separate role in my journey. It was then that I began to write music. I wrote ‘The Quiet Kind’ as an expression, not of being a quiet person, but of the inner part of me that formed in these years, a fear of the outside, anything that I wasn’t sheltered from as a child. ‘The Quiet Kind’ is an E.P. of songs that express naivety, a struggle to understand that things change, a black hole in the tunnel to comfort in life. It is not all so dark though, it also gives voice to feelings of first love, seeking of freedom and family values. For a long time this E.P. reminded me of a fearful time however as the light naturally switched on in my brain, I listen to my songs from this time and just hear part of my journey. I realise that I am only part way through an evolving life and that any time things can be different.

WELCOME

Welcome to my music site. A place to allow my creative work come to life. Within this website you can access a body of creativity from my original music to links to my YouTube channel and other works. You will also have access to my music blog ‘Sound Mind’, I started this blog in order to highlight the mechanisms music has given me as an aid to forward on in this journey I embark on in life. I will talk about my work, how and why it exists and the parts of the journey it represents. Thank you for joining me in this experience of enlightening the sound mind.