I suppose I take the nature of the visual artists I know for granted. They are supportive and encouraging… thank you all.
However, the visual art that I have made doesn’t require the trust of other artists. Or perhaps I should say the direct trust, for the quality of my own work. Work done for a collaborative project with Bo Jones of course required trust that we both provided what we said we would, to the required standard, and we supported each other in our endeavours. But when it came down to it, my work was my sole responsibility.
Music is different.
I think this is one of the reasons I have found this project so emotionally overwhelming.
For me to make music, I need other people, for most songs, at some point.
It is a completely different relationship to that between visual artists in my experience (yours may well be different, I can’t speak of that)
Over the last couple of years I have gone from being someone who can hold a tune, sing in the car or shower, hymns in church or songs at school, to a woman who can deliver a song, fairly confidently, in front of an audience, and it sounds mostly ok. As my good friend Dan has been heard to say “It’s on the threshold of in tune, E!” And, at this pronouncement, I am now able to laugh and give it another go, rather than shut myself in the cupboard under the stairs to cry. That’s quite a development.
That development is down to the nature of musicians… or at least the ones I have encountered.
Now, when I sing in public, with these people alongside me, I trust them implicitly. They are able to get me out of the shit if I sing the wrong words in the wrong place, or forget the words, or completely cock it up. The band mentality is a warm, fuzzy, snuggly thing. It’s like the third glass of wine… I love them all, they are my best mates. There is a communication that passes between musicians during performance that is a real true cooperative thing. The strength is in them working together in the service of the song. It is an addictive feeling.
I’m not heading for the X Factor. I’m not going to be doing any open mic nights in local pubs. I don’t crave that. I love my making too much, and I’m too old, and not inclined to give it the time it would deserve if I was to change tack completely. But I do love it. I try my best to learn the words and concentrate to sing in tune, and do so as consistently as possible. That is bloody hard! My new best mates deserve that I give it my best shot, because they are giving it theirs. But I will be carrying on. I will continue writing songs, combining them with the visuals, and I will carry on performing on a small scale.
Last night was the not-quite-end-of-term concert for The Songwriters’ Circle at mac Birmingham. I attach here a soundcloud link to the bit I was in. The first song “Always You” was a collaborative effort, between the people you hear: Me, Dave Sutherland, Andy Jenkins and Ian Sutherland. The second song “Someone” is one of the nine women songs… Dave on mandolin, Dan Whitehouse on bass. I’ve left in all the banter in between, because it’s fun.
The writing in a group thing was new to me this term, I’ve only written in pairs before. It was an amazing thing. This song appeared really quickly… I had a verse and a pre-chorus bit… and an hour later, thanks to those lovely men, we had a song. I think it’s a good one, and I can’t wait to do it again, or write more in this dream team.
Meanwhile, in the studio, Dan and I are rehearsing for the live bit of the nine women preview night. As I said a couple of posts ago, the live performance isn’t so much part of the installation, more of a celebration. A celebration in which I raise a glass to all those who have shared the trust, and got me this far.
You’re my best mates you are! *hic* I love you!