Things I am learning: Part 3! Status, shmatus.
You know what's cool? I was too busy making songs that I forgot to write about making songs. Heehee.
It's a bit delayed, but here's another thing I learned in London and am still learning now:
3. Status isn’t everything. (In some ways, it means nothing).
I fell in love with performing when I was 15ish at a lounge in Mississauga.
I played every Tuesday to a handful of people in the suburbs who were mostly smoking hookas and waiting for their turn to play for their girlfriends, some of whom worked at the grocery stores in a neighboring strip mall. Someone threw gum at me once (grape).
Back then it wasn’t about impressing the strangers, or building a name, or branding anything.
Just singing the songs I wrote was everything. Quite honestly I didn't even care if the audience liked them. I just wanted to put it out into the universe and float happily in those 20 minutes I got to exist onstage. It was completely meaningful to me.
And then life happened and I "grew up" or whatever.
I have subconsciously put status -or hype- before my actual reaction to a song, a performance, a project. Even worse, I have put status before my own reaction to a person. A human being.
I know, I know, it's normal in most spheres. Careers are built on that shit; "What can I get from this? Is this person worth talking to? Is it cool to like this?" (I ask this last one always and it is so stupid and I'm not doing it anymore so there).
I'm not naive. I know I am a romantic about music making, and how music finds its way to the right ears.
But if you are an artist and status measures your success, you are a five year old holding a balloon full of air. It's pretty. But when it comes down to it, it isn't lasting.
But what lasts? What gives what I do meaning? What is constant?
Writing a song that you believe in is lasting. Loving something so much it makes you sick is lasting. Getting to the root of where your passion lies and trusting your gut brings you to a more fulfilling place- I am pretty sure about that.
I am tempted by status and have been blinded by it before. But when it comes down to it, I mostly just want to make music for the sake of making music. I am pleased to announce that this is what brings me joy more than anything, despite myself.
You know what's stupid about when status becomes what you look for- in people or in art? You can't actually see the person, or the art.
You are blinded by this lens which isn't even accurate; it's assessing what you get out of the person, or what the art means, because of how's it's been graded. This injects something beautiful -like meeting someone new, seeing a painting for the first time- with poison. You can't see clearly. Like beer goggles.
Right now for me I’m making the greatest progress when I sit in a room and work on one verse for 3 hours. Or make a song and don't show anyone yet. Trying to get back to what matters, you know?
It is more instantly gratifying when somebody “likes” my online self. I'm a human, I want affirmation. I crave status. I want my life to look cool on Instagram.
But I refuse to let that be my lens of the world. I am trying to see more clearly, to create more honestly. I always want it to be about that first- that experience of art, of music, of humans.
You can try to ask questions: Is this person going to benefit me? Did you make lots of money off touring? Is anyone glamorous interested in your songs? Did you get 10 new followers?
But I wouldn’t bother because unfortunately, the most beautiful things are often under appreciated. The least assuming doors are often of greatest importance.
Let's start by asking instead, Why does this matter? What holds my meaning? What can I give that will make the world better?