Why I Make Music…

I make music because of the place that it comes from.  The state I am in when I am making it.  That place where time disappears and everything else dissolves.  The place where fierce joy rises up, unbidden, like golden light filling a well.

That is why I make music.

I believe that this state is communicable thru music.  And that the communication of this state is something as vital and important to us as food, or air, or love.

For me, that is the value of great art.

I am still recording every night; from around midnight till maybe 5 in the morning.

This is my favourite part of the day.  It doesn’t feel like I have a deadline; it feels almost indecently pleasurable, like rolling in ice cream.  The music is a distillation of all the greatest moments from this practice.  It is concentrated joy in a bottle.  It is captured lightning.  It is my love.  By the end of this week I should have a useable draft of the album in all it’s crazy, light filled, lo-fi glory.

I did some math and worked out that I have spent well over 1000 hours this year solely working on the record.  It will be the distillation of over 1000 hours, into 1 hour of sound.  My most truthful sketches, the most inspired moments captured with a butterfly net and poured over a hard drive, like honey on your tongue.

There is still work to be done; I know this because I still have time.  I will work on this record up until the day I release it.  I don’t have any days off scheduled in the next 6 weeks.  It is going to be the very best it can be.  I can’t wait to give it to you.

It isn’t going to sound like a super produced pop record.  It is going to sound real; like somebody playing and singing their heart out sometime after midnight.  It is going to sound bare bones, lo fi and gorgeous.  A record made in my home studio, using equipment held together with love and duct tape.  Beautiful,  honest and vulnerable.

It is as close to the truth as I can get.  Soon, soon, soon. ;-)

Did you like this?

If you enjoyed this you may also like: my post about how my blog gained more than 15’000 followers in less than 3 years, my essay concerning the greatest book of advice ever written, or the post which reveals the real (and Taboo) secret behind my success.


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723 Replies to “Why I Make Music…”

  1. I have no problem with understanding the process, and the joy connected with it. Being ourselves and doing what we love the most creates magic. How will it be possible to get the music once it’s done? I’m dreaming about writing my own songs too – and one day I will. I just also add that I feel the creativity and love for life also in your writing. I think your music certainly will feel like honey one my tounge, in addition to Greek yoghurt since I now know something about the artist behind them :)

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    1. It IS totally magic ;-)
      The album is going to be available exclusively thru this site from Jan 31st onwards in a bunch of formats for about 2 months, then it will be on iTunes, Amazon etc. So here, mainly.
      If you are dreaming about writing your own songs, you totally should. It is one of the secrets of art that you never feel quite ready to do anything. I’d be happy to be a sounding board for you.
      I hope you are well ;-)
      – J

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      1. Wonderful. I will try to remember your wordpress-address and put it in my calendar so that I’ll remember. I’ve already written some things, when I make music I just sing, but I cannot play any instruments. I have many musicians as friends though, so I know I will fix that problem when I go for it (too many dreams to fulfill;) do you play many instruments ? There is a splendid new app called finger maestro that actually makes it more initutive to play, unlike a piano:)

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        1. I do play a bunch of things, but you can do a lot even if you just sing. There is a bunch of cheap tech you can get that’ll allow you to mock up basic chords and progressions, stuff to put round your voice. Garageband is a good entry level thing and offers loads of easy options.
          Music is badass, if you can do it, you totally should. It will make your life blaze with light.
          Big love, singer-girl,
          – J

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        1. Ummmmm, probably tastes of both, but neither. It’s pretty individual, I haven’t really heard anything else like it.
          Tell you what – Listen to it on the 31st – then you tell me, deal? ;-)
          – J

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  2. I love your description of what it’s like to be recording music. It’s similar to how I feel when writing an original piece (which I don’t do as often as I would like to) – slipping into the state of dreamily finding words and phrases to get across what I want to say, and the satisfaction of pulling together a cleverly worded line. Music plays a big part in writing, so I’m always on the hunt for more.

    Good luck with the recording :)

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  3. Beautiful. Music is very dear to me… I can never have enough of it and that is good because it is everywhere- in the morning call of a distant train mingled with the chirping of sparrows, in the temple bells ringing with shop shutters going up, in the whoosh of a deep breath and the thumping of the heart. :-)
    I wish you all the very best in your musical endeavor. :-)

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  4. You remind me of a great writer. When asked how much he got done that day, he replied, “A lot, I wrote two lines today.” “What is the great joy in that?” “They were a great two lines!”

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    1. “Scientist by day, bandchick by night”… best. tagline. EVER. ;-)
      Thanks for the good luck – I am getting to that place near album release when I just sleep and then do music, then sleep then music.
      -J
      (seriously tho, Best Tagline Ever) ;-)

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        1. You totally can. I really believe that. You need a ‘reasonable amount of unreasonability’ to do this, but you totally can. Just start now. It will be badass. ;-) It is honestly a really great life. I sleep, I do music and I get to talk to lovely people like yourself. That is the entirety of my life, and I fully believe that anyone can do it.
          Be well, Bandchick,
          – J x

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            1. You’re most welcome. ;-)
              There is always a period of development needed before you are ready. You will know when it’s the right time.
              Science Rocks!!
              Good luck and let me know how it goes, ok?
              – J

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  5. James,
    I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love this post. I get it. I absolutely get it but to pen it in the way you have is true beauty. Thank you.

    Oh, and I am looking forward to this duct-taped album! :)

    –Steve

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  6. Uhmmmm! What a refreshing way to write about music. Makes one want to experience the same thing. But I guess we just wait for u to release ur album. Thanks for astopping by my blod. More grace

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    1. I’m serious dude, if you can do it, do it.
      After I started doing it, I got a book which details well known artist’s rituals and a surprising majority of them did their work between 11 and 5.
      ‘Course it does kinda fuck up your social life, and you do have to be careful not to break your health ;-)
      Apart from that – AWESOME. ;-) heh

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      1. I’m a rookie when it comes to recording a variety of instruments. I’m a rookie at playing an instrument period. I’ve been a vocalist in a variety of environments since I was 4 years old.
        At 31, I opened garage band and found a place called heaven on earth.

        Look forward to hearing more of your stuff.

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    1. Thanks Eric.
      I totally agree with the ripple effect, yet I would probably language it differently. It seems obvious that there is a lot more going on than just what we perceive at a conscious level.
      Good work, and thanks for connecting. ;-)
      -J

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      1. Actually there is… in fact two additional chakra points at the soft part under the shoulder link with the heart and there is actually a storehouse of awesome information available as this opens. I’ll be posting more. There is a huge transformation opening and even average folk will be like zen masters as this occurs. :-)
        ~ Eric

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  7. Hey James! Your description “… where time disappears and everything else dissolves” resonates with me. Sounds like you’re one of the fortunate few that have truly found a passion that you’re wired for. Keep up the great work!
    I hope there’s some down time with family during this season… would hate for them to be one of the things that dissolves in the process! I pray they are every bit the passion that your music is. May they last well beyond the sound of the last chord strummed, my friend ;-)

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    1. Thanks a lot man, your words made me smile.
      There is not going to be much time with family this season, but I am lucky to be blessed with a very cool and solid family – they understand that this is part of my work and really truly support me in what I want to do and that, without seeming twee, is kinda the best xmas present ever ;-)
      Thanks again for connecting – good thoughts.
      James

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    1. Hey there JennyAnn ;-)
      You are welcome for the like, it is genuine. I thought your latest post was really proactive and positive. It is awesome to see someone turning something painful into something of worth for others. You are beautiful.
      Thankyou for the luck, it is going well.
      And thanks for connecting, it was nice to find you.
      J

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  8. “A record made in my home studio, using equipment held together with duct tape. Beautiful, honest and vulnerable.”

    That is what touched my heart. “held together with duct tape.” It brought a tear to this ‘good girl gone bad’s heart! Truly touching, your words are. You are ‘genuine, the real deal! Stay true to yourself and to your music and you’ll be alright! I just know it as I am a fan already!

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  9. Thank you James for visiting Barefoot Music. I like the way you express yourself through words as well as your music. I can relate. Best of everything on your new album debut next month, I’ll be watching fr it.

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    1. You’re welcome. I like the way you express thru words also. Your writing is very direct, and the snow on your site kinda made me smile ;-) Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for connecting.
      Many wishes to you,
      James

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      1. You are very kind. You made me smile with your comment about the snow. Winter is my favorite time of the year, I am someone who loves snow.
        I love it’s silence.
        And have you ever heard an acoustic guitar accompanied by the snow’s silence? Quite beautiful, snow banks creating acoustics like none other.
        Thanks again for stopping by. :-)

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        1. I actually have never played guitar in the snow, although, now that you mention it, I think it would be beautiful. I will try it, should Edinburgh receive any this year – it is a very warm winter so far. ;-)
          J

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          1. Waking on this morning to snow on my high desert, thought of the beauty of the snow’s silence and the soft strumming & picking of 6 strings. So though I know I risk bringing on the ire of those who do not fancy snow, I am blowing snow flakes your way. ;-) Just long enough to discover the beauty of an acoustic guitar in that kind of quiet.

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            1. I would welcome them gladly. Scotland is very light on snow this winter. A few years ago it was -15 with 2 foot drifts, but at the moment it’s still warm. Blow harder! ;-) Where are you at? Is the picture in your header taken from where you live? If so, you must count yourself as being exceedingly lucky!
              It would be so good to be in a log cabin with an open fire, snow outside and guitar.
              Hope this finds you well.

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              1. Thank you for your kind wishes James.
                I am blowing, wishing, creating visions of snow flakes, and doing a snow dance to send your way. kindred spirits are those who find beauty in the flakes of snow.
                I am in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. Oregon’s high desert to be exact. And yes, the two photos are of the mountains that surround my high desert. I live at about 4500ft above sea level. We are having a rather colder winter than the norm albeit snow and freezing temps are always part of our winters. I quite fancy the weather, It is a climate where it can be snowing while the sun still shines with it’s brilliance glow, glancing off each snow flake as it falls creating exquisite prisms of light. that I just see the pure and simple beauty in.
                Take care while thinking snow ~ ;-) Toni

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                1. You are very lucky to live in such beautiful surroundings. It must be incredibly inspirational for you. Thankyou for your snow dance, it made me giggle. If any snow should fall in the ‘Burg, I will let you know.
                  Take care you, J

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                  1. Thank you so much for your kind words about my home. I am completely enamored with where I live and yes, I am blessed to be inspired daily by the beauty here. From what I know about your ‘Burg’ you are also in beautiful surroundings, and with very rich history.
                    I will continue the seasonal snow dance, watch for your new album release, and smile knowing I have a friend in Scotland wishing for snow. Kind of like that.
                    Keep smiling James, it makes people wonder what your secret is. And that’s contagious.in such a cool kind of way ~ toni

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                    1. I am really glad you connected Toni, I smile at every little message ;-)
                      You right about Edinburgh, I travelled around a lot before I landed here. I didn’t think I would stay anywhere for longer than I year or so, but there is something about this place…
                      Definitely continue the snow dance, I love the idea of recording with the snow falling gently outside ;-)
                      Well met, x
                      – James

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                    2. I am pleased that we connected as well James. Music, the most amazing universal language that bridges so many of us together through lyrics and notes. I think that is just magical.
                      I did some brief searching about your ‘Burg…and as I was browsing I was also smiling, because of the natural beauty and the architecture you are surrounded by..
                      I have lived in the Pacific Northwest all my life, spending 10 (long) years living in Seattle instead of my native Oregon. I missed Oregon and counted the days until I was able to come back home. I have been back for almost 10 yrs and I don’t believe I will move away again. I am a 3rd generation Oregonian and am privileged with the honor.
                      One of the aspects of Oregon I especially love is in a days time & a road trip I can be either in the plains, the desert & mountains, (where I live) the valley & it’s rain forest, or the Pacific ocean. I tend to have a real affinity for what is going on outside my windows and I relate a lot of life through nature. I like that I can be in any of those environments without leaving my home state.
                      I see I wrote you shorty story, typical of me. ;-)
                      I thank you so much for making me feel your welcome here in your blog world.
                      Wishing you a sparkling weekend new friend. ~ T

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                    3. You are so welcome here, in my blog world ;-)
                      Edinburgh is really beautiful, it has a great mix of art, culture and history, and it is twenty minutes away from the Highlands. I really love road trips too, and regularly disappear into the wilds. It sounds as if you have definitely found the place that is right for you, I am truly happy for you.
                      much love,
                      -J

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                    4. As this chat thread begins to run into its thin line I just want to say that you have a sincere and genuine energy that is very welcoming. Thank you for that. As I come to know you and your music it becomes obvious that you are a gift to this planet, and to all hearts that beat to a special cadence that brings us all to a common place of bliss.
                      I thank you James for the gift of your friendship.

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                    5. You just a smile maker James. I will be most delighted to stay in touch, So looking forward to becoming acquainteded with you & your music on a soul level. I think you have a lot of positive goodness that is wonderfully contagious.

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  10. It’s good to know there are still real artists out there, mainstream has become such a sell out and it’s sad how the originality and true heart is missing from music that the younger generation is growing up with. I wish you the best of luck!

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    1. Thanks Ginger, that means a lot to me.
      I enjoyed your words, how is the world of internet marketing/blogging treating you?
      I’m very happy you connected, good luck to you too, I wish you the best,
      James

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  11. Dear James, thank you for letting your presence be known on my blog. You seem to have a diverse sound about you, I could only listen to a lick since i’m traveling right now, but it seems promising!

    Cheers, NT

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  12. Love how you described the space of creativity. I think that time of night is precious the world is quiet all the energies are in harmony and it lends to being open. Can’t wait to hear your album.
    Arifah

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    1. Thankyou so much.
      Night is a really beautiful time to be creative. It feels like a womb; or maybe all the energy you have for dreams is available to you. It is a beautiful space. I can’t wait to share my album with you.
      Thankyou for your words, I wish you well,
      James

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  13. Firstly I want to say thank you for popping in and reading Borrowed Heart. Our souls float to music when we write – the emotions, the moods, the complete and utter WOW factor of where musicians can take us . I adored this line that you wrote – the most inspired moments captured with a butterfly net and poured over a hard drive, like honey on your tongue.
    I wish you well ~ smiles. Can’t wait to hear this album – bare bones – like the good old days’ is good ;-)

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    1. Thankyou so much, I liked reading Borrowed heart, and the more we connect, the better it is. And I am flattered that you liked my writing as well as my music. Coming from a fellow writer, this is high praise indeed ;-)
      I wish you well in return, I can’t wait to share my album with you, it is really coming together now,
      Keep writing!
      James

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      1. Thanks James and I appreciate you reading and liking :-)
        I think musicians are writers aren’t they – feeling the words in their notes.
        I shall keep writing and you keep playing :-)
        From the one ‘Down Under’

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  14. Music is beautiful, its therapeutic. I am not a great fan of the perfect sound and records created in studios, but i love real sounds in which you can actually feel the artist pouring in their soul.

    Wish you great success in your effort. Would love to hear it !!

    Like

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