Hello! My name is Ian and have been struggling with my mental health during lockdown and this strange ‘new normal’ we find ourselves in (vomits).
I make a return this month to creative ‘work’ as a singer songwriter after an extended hiatus, since I finally admitted to myself (and everyone else) that I have not been well. So over the past 9 months I’ve enlisted the help of a trained counsellor and have been making some changes.
It’s rather like returning to work after your holidays and switching off the out of office reply. Like ripping back the curtains in the morning and the blazing sunlight flooding in, startling your eyes - it’s obviously nice to be awake, but also nice to have a cup of coffee and a chat before you get going!
I have had well over a year to reflect on why I have been feeling deeply unfulfilled by my work (cheers rona). The main culprit I have discovered is my own inner critic chewing my ear off. That annoying high pitched, Chipmunk voice in my head, chirruping away in the background ‘you’re not good enough’ – who’d have known I have never actually truly feel ‘good enough’… well I didn’t for a start! I guess it also doesn’t help realise how many arseholes you’ve surrounded yourself with over the years.
A brief word on therapy for the curious among you: picture peeling back the layers of an onion, each time you think you’re back to the heart, there’s another layer of trauma to work through. Except rather than being a tasty root vegetable, you’re ripping away at your own emotional skin; it’s painful and there are complex emotions to work through at every layer. To mix the metaphor even more, it’s like an infinite set of Russian Dolls with a grudge.
So why I hear you ask it different this time?
Up until now I’ve survived by working myself to the bone; grafting ridiculous hours trying to ‘make it’ whatever ‘it’ is. By doing so I’ve sadly neglected my own wellbeing – it got to the point that I didn’t know who I was outside of music. There was never a division between work and play, never time to be in the moment and truly savour it. Always on the run from something. And hearing my own deep thoughts for the first time is rather jarring to be frank, especially when they’re not so nice and misguided!
As I chat candidly to my counsellor each week, it dawns on me how toxic, competitive and corrupt the commercial music industry is and let’s face it - the world we find ourselves in nowadays. I discover I am addicted to my phone - social media..emails…Facebook Messenger… it’s like navigating the checkout at Aldi with an eager operator going at turbo speed, whilst you try and pack your shopping away. F*ck that, give me the prosecco, I’m off.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, social media isn’t about us really is it? It’s a wicked torture instrument, wielded by the talons of consumerism - if you don’t take part, you don’t exist mate. So many pressures on us all… age, appearance, being rich and being stalked by my old arch nemesis the dreaded ‘p’ word – ‘perfection’. Pressure also makes diamonds, right? But perfection kills art, and it has been killing me slowly up until now.
This is why making my song ‘Mosaic Heart’ has been so liberating. In essence, mosaics make something beautiful out of broken pieces, something more than the sum of their parts. They’re rather wonderful, aren’t they?
The music was recorded somewhen during that never ending, perpetual cycle of lockdown, the video filmed in my humble abode; crafted by my own fair hands. I found myself getting excited to go in and edit the video a little every day. I watch the video now and see all of the tiny lines and pores on my skin and feel authentic under those lights. My skin, like the song tells a story - it isn’t ‘perfect’ by any means, but it feels good. And it will feel even better as I get comfier I get in it.
I feel like I am coming back to life again.
There are so many barriers in place for artists – algorithms mean no bugger gets to see a lot of the content us artists post online. And the thing about making art is – you really do need to finish what you’re doing, declare to the world it is ‘art’, make some pretty packaging and find a gallery to put it in. It’s not easy my friend, trust me! Especially when no-one can see you have a gallery and it’s up to the Social Media Gods who sees what you’re up to.
Moving forward I’ll be migrating and posting all of my content to my own personal site. I’ll still post on social media a few times a week but all the juicy stuff will have its own gallery and an admission fee to help maintain it. I’ll let you know when it’s ready as it’s work in progress just like little me.
I also hope you enjoy the ‘Mosaic Heart’ song and video but if you don’t, no hard feelings – we can’t all have great taste in music can we?
The video wont be posted publicly until Monday 27th September 2021 but you can get the first viewing here before it does!
'Mosaic Hearts' will be released on 11th October 2021 through all major digital stores - pre order here.