It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog. Honestly, I didn’t really know what to write about. I feel a little lost.
I imagine every performer feels this. I suppose I should ask a few. After a big gig, or a tour, or a launch. Any event you’ve psyched yourself up for and poured yourself into.
At the beginning it’s so daunting. You stand at the bottom of a mountain of work and wonder why you’re doing it. And then you start.
I, personally, love the beginning stages of a new project. Everything is a clean slate, no idea is off the cards, you can just wallow in the deepest pools of your imagination. Then at some point- reality starts to kick in.
You make calls. You print flyers. You record music. You start doing whatever jobs there are to be done. At this point you might have a nice little bullet-pointed to-do list. If you’re like me, you go through reams of paper writing everything down. If you’re sensible, you do it on a computer or something. Save the trees and all that.
At this point you’ve told all your friends and family. You talk about your project with the doe-eyed awe of an expecting parent.
“Look,” you say. “Look at this thing I am creating. When it is finished, it will be beautiful.”
And then it starts. You get into the meat of the work and you start to get a little tired. Things get crossed off your list and new things get added as you crest one hill only to find another one behind it. You learn lessons. You adapt.
And then at some point, a little after the middle but before the final act, you maybe have a moment like I did. Where you look at the mountain you’ve climbed, now behind and below you, and you turn and look at the mountain in front of you and think: “I should have stayed in the office.” Every plate is up in the air. Every part of the project needs attention all at the same time and your brain starts turning into pudding. If you’re lucky, you have a team behind you to take some of the weight.
One of the greatest moments of the tour was sitting watching Emma research locations for the August week of the tour. At that point I honest to God couldn’t make one more decision. I think this is where the body takes over.
Now you’re running on auto-pilot. If you had a good day, or a particularly strong coffee, maybe you’ve rewritten your to do list on a clean sheet of paper. You put your head down and you work.
The August week of touring occupies a similar place in my head as my final few weeks of college. Everything was due, there was a mountain of work to be done, so I just put my head down and worked through it till it was done and damn the consequences on the other side.
And then you’ve broken the back of it. You can see some kind of finish line on the horizon. It’s a good feeling. At this point you are probably running on caffeine, or adrenalin, or something equally wonderful and unhealthy.
You make more calls, do more promotion. On some level you realize that you are nearly done and you actually cannot wait to be free of this thing. The doe-eyes are gone, replaced with exhaustion, but there’s no stopping now so you keep going.
And then you’re done.
You play your gig, you release your album or book, you finish your tour and go home.
And life just kind of… goes on.
There’s still stuff to do. There’s probably loads of little pieces to pick up. For me, there’s a seemingly endless number of videos to put out. But I can do that from my bedroom, drinking tea and watching the rain.
I get this at the end of every big project. When I finished college, when I released my second and third album, and now the tour. I spent the first week just sort of wandering around the house. Too tired to do anything, but too used to doing stuff to sit still. I thought about writing a blog and my brain nearly shut down.
And here I am, writing these thoughts down for you.
I’ve never had a blog before. Not because I don’t like writing, or talking, or telling people about things. Anyone who knows me will agree I enjoy all of these things. It was more a case of I didn’t really know what to write. I didn’t think people would be interested in my ramblings. But then I realized, this is my blog and I can ramble if I like.
So there you have it. The come down off the tour. If you’re a fellow performer I would love to hear if you have a similar experience with big projects. And if you’re reading this and considering embarking on a big project I can only say this:
JUST DO IT