There are 4 months until release date. I am as curious as to how those 4 months will go as the next person. I don’t really have a set plan. I do have faith in the process tho. I have faith that: if I keep doing what I am doing and follow my intuition then, on the 31st, I’ll wake up and have a record.
Each day I get up, meditate for about an hour and do a vocal practice. Then I eat breakfast, make coffee and start working. When I finish, I workout as hard as I can. Then I collapse and try and relax. Rinse and repeat.
Sleep is eluding me again. Night comes and I chase it, like an animal thru a dark forest. My dreams are becoming stranger and more vivid. In one way it would be more convenient if I kept to a regular schedule, but one of the advantages of being a full-time artist is: it doesn’t matter what time the work happens at, as long as it happens. So, I tend to work from when I get up as if it is a regular day, whether I wake up at 3:00 in the morning or 3:00 in the afternoon.
At present, I have approximately 15 pieces that I am seriously working on. They are evolving nicely. The hardest thing is not rushing them. I want to hear them when they are finished, but to think about the end slows down the process, so I just do the work.
I am beginning to work on the vocal aspects of the pieces. The base ingredients are there now, all the main themes and ideas. Vocals are the living core of the pieces for me. It is time to be open and naked and vulnerable and pour my heart thru these pieces. There is nowhere to hide. It is intimidating. It is exhilarating. There is something deeply and sensually indulgent about fearlessly expressing yourself. It is liberating in the truest sense of the word. It is the place I feel most free. It is the reason I do what I do.
A big part of the process is learning how to deal with and process fear. There is always fear. It arises almost constantly and takes many forms. It is part of the human condition and is not necessarily a bad thing. The knee-jerk reaction is to resist it, to try and escape, but this creates blocks between you and the place that art and life comes from. You have to learn to sit with it, to accept it, to be aware of it, but not owned by it. This is a mighty skill. In our culture this process is not really addressed. It is something vital that we have, for the moment, lost. Comfort and instant gratification are easier choices and this is, by no means, an easy struggle. Sometimes I forget, sometimes I fail, sometimes I give up. But I remain aware of it, and I keep trying.
Someone asked me recently what my goals were for the album. I replied that I just wanted to make the most honest, real, and present record that I could. He asked if I was concerned about it not selling, or not being good enough. I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t really think about these things. They are threads that would pull my focus while I was making music, so I cut them off. I cut most everything while I am engaged in this. The smallest things can throw me. I have to be very quiet, very alone, and very undisturbed to do the work. Sometimes I’ll have ideas for music whilst I am going about my regular human life, but mostly it comes thru the discipline of sitting each day. Sitting with the fear and discomfort until it dissipates into the wide open space that music pours from, clear and effortless, like water from a faucet.
In this blog, I am trying to be as honest as I can be. There is a constant battle for me, between the impulse to say something that I think sounds ‘cool’ and saying something real. For me, to be real in any sphere implies vulnerability and introduces the possibility of failure. It introduces the element of uncertainty and the possibility of damage, pain and loss. This the ragged and bloody edge of life. It is where art lives for me. It is where I want to spend my life.
Thankyou for reading this. I hope you are well and I hope this is useful for you.
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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