Less than 20 years ago the music industry looked very different from today. If a musician wanted to reach a global audience, it was a long way to go unless you had a band, studio, manager, recording label, good contacts, a lot of money etc. It was quite a challenge to get out there with your heart songs. In addition to that, was your music of interest to an audience? Was it the right time for this? So many factors were involved to get your album to the shops. That was the reality. It is not any longer.
Today, thanks to the internet, we are connected with each other all over the globe. Less than ten years ago, when I explored finger-picking and bluegrass, one of my secondary school teachers sent me a link to an American Radio live video-show where they invited musicians. I could watch this from home, enjoy their professionalism and music from my living room and play along. This was incredible. This was before music streaming services so if you wanted their music you had to go to their website to order their album. Maybe a YouTube video or two, not more than that.
Nowadays music streaming services are so easily accessible through our devices and we can basically find anything we like. Musicians can with a few steps and means reach millions of people without depending on all the factors I mentioned earlier. If you have a computer, some recording equipment, editing skills (or ask a friend) you can soon have your music online for basically no cost at all. I find this to be a very interesting time in our history.
However, what I also find to be very interesting is the journey from when you decide to take on a project, like recording an album, until you consider it to be finished. What comes up in your mind? "This is impossible. I will never be able to do this. I don't even know how to write a song. How do I play this instrument? No one will like it. I have no artistic inspiration at all. Bad hair day, yep. The coffee is bad..." There may be endless comments going on.. Or not?
One day on a cold mid-November, I gave myself a challenge: to compose and record a guitar album within a week; Publish it online and serve family, friends and community with my passion. I told a social media community that this was my goal and that I would report after a week.
I wanted to use simple and efficient recording techniques (that I had been taught from my sound teacher) because that was part of my project: in a simple way, craft a homemade recording and reach out globally with my music.
To record a CD was something I had wanted to do for a long time but it never really kicked it off with this project. I now simply got started. I got down to work. It was what it was and it wasn’t hard work. Sometimes it was fun, sometimes not. Sometimes the inspiration was flowing, and other times I felt stuck. However, through all the time I relaxed with whatever came up. I thought of people who had gone before me, my teachers and inspirations. How would they have done it? What would their approach be? What challenges came up for them?
At the end of that week, I reported back to the social media community that my album was done. I completed nine tracks and was very happy about that. The name I gave the album was “A Life of Beauty” because that is what I think my life is like: a life of beauty.