“I climb for my own reasons, for the way the experience changes me. If someone has a problem with me or my style, I couldn’t care less. Each individual can pursue any path he wants. Let’s just be honest about what we do.”
– Mark Twight
To me, my music and art is my way to fearlessly self-express. It is my way to force personal evolution. It is the place that I can be most honest and make my most truthful contribution to the world.
I believe: if you want to do anything worthwhile then it will come at a price. You have to really weigh up how much you want it. There are plenty of people who will tell you that they were shortchanged when really, they were just unwilling to pay.
Whether you want to be a jazz saxophonist, a truly great mother, the greatest pearl diver who ever lived, or the heavyweight champion of the world; there is always cost, there is always payment.
I have been solely focused on my thing (creating my art + giving it to the world) for almost 20 years now with very little external reinforcement. I have fought many, many fights to continue walking my path. I have unknowingly (and knowingly) sacrificed: relationships, other people’s feelings, my own body and sometimes, my own mental wellbeing in my quest for this. I have suffered countless setbacks and made my way thru vast tracts of darkness and self doubt. I have learned much. At times, it has been very hard.
But I don’t believe in the free lunch. I don’t believe in the shortcut. I have found neither in my life. There is a balance and equilibrium to everything. To receive you must give. If you want something, you have to pay the price. In my experience, these things are cliches because they are true.
Maybe this is integrity. Or maybe I am just a pathologically crazy person. I just know that I have to be true to whatever it is that guides me in my gut. In some ways I am very sensitive. The feeling of lying, of bullshitting, feels really bad somewhere deep inside me. So, I choose not to do it.
Music in some ways, comes very easily to me. In other ways it is, by far, the hardest thing I have ever done. It’s not the sound, it’s the standard. To make music is EASY. Anyone can do it. A child can do it. Monkeys can do it (probably). But to make YOUR music. Your REAL music. The music that is your own fearless self expression; THAT is one of the hardest things on this planet.
There are no ‘how-to’ DVD’s for that. No one else can show you how. It’s all up to you.
I know that to get there you have to focus on your thing. And focus. And pour in more time, more energy and more life than you think possible. You must sacrifice. You must work hard and harder still. You must always be true to your vision and you must always, always move forward.
I’m not perfect at this. Hell, sometimes I’m not even good. Sometimes, I’m a big. fat. hypocrite. But not for long. It is always there, in the back of my head and, even when I’m stalled, I know that: soon, soon, I’ll take that next step. Keep moving forward, just keep moving forward.
This post is not meant to be a bullshit, posturing, piece of writing. What I really want to communicate to you is this: doing the thing you love can be hard. It can even be much harder than the alternatives. But the thing that you get from paying that price; the unquantifiable feeling that the day has not gone down in debt, the knowledge that you have truly made headway, that you are doing what are meant to do, THAT is beyond worth.
I hope this is, in some way, of use to you. And I hope you are well.
Here Endeth the Sermon.
My name is James Radcliffe and I am a 100% audience supported independent artist. If you like what I do (and can afford it) then please consider buying some of my music. Each purchase really makes a big difference to me and 10% of every sale goes to a charity which: houses, feeds, clothes, and educates orphaned children in Nepal.
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