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. You wrote an amazing description of what it’s like playing music. I definitely agree. I find myself in that place often, especially when I lead worship at my church. God’s blessings as you continue to work on your album!

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  2. Wow, reading a man who pursuit his passion. Nothing has more courage than that in the morning I just woke up! You’ll make my day to pursuit mine. I wish you good luck of the world. I think when it’s done, you’ll be the most satisfied person. Let us know when it’s released. I’d love to listen to it.

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    1. That is really great to read, thankyou very much ;-)
      I don’t know where you are, but it’s half after midnight here, and I’ve just woken up to start recording in the quiet morning hours. My schedule is crazy at the moment, but it’s so, so worth it. ;-)
      The album will be released on the 31st of Jan. I am really looking forward to it ;-)
      Thanks for connecting, and for your kind words,
      Be well,
      – J

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  3. Happy New Year, I pray that you will Live Well in 2014, empowered by your imagination, courage and realistic action xxx be blessed with love xxxx

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  4. I believe that we all have a way to express our voice. Music is your way of expressing yourself, and writing is the way I express mine. It is good that you are expressing yourself through music. Hopefully, we can all learn to reveal our voices! Everyone has a story to tell.

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    1. I really do as well. There seems to be a lot of correlation too, if you look at the routines of great artists of the past, a lot of them liked to work in this window.
      Thanks for connecting, ;-)
      I hope you are well,
      – J

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    1. I want to share this with my youngest son who lives MUSIC!!! For Christmas he received a laptop, mixer, microphone, soundboard and I cannot get him out of his room. But how you speak about the place music comes from is exactly what I want him to understand! Congratulations on your soon release.

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      1. Thankyou so, so much, that is lovely to hear. ;-)
        It sounds like your son really has the drive, that is a great thing, and it’s incredible that you are so supportive, well done you!
        Hearing this really brightened my day, thankyou,
        – J

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  5. James, I was signed into the wrong account when commenting. I want to make the comment again using my other account…can you delete this comment and the one I just made under csmith1281 and only approve the one I make with my other profile? Thanks.

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    1. I’ll happily do that – which one is your other account? I can see 3 comments from csmith1281, but none from anyone else. If you let me know which is the account you want to show, I’ll jimmy things around.
      Thanks for getting in touch tho, really nice to hear from you,
      – J

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      1. You know what, I’ve really confused myself because I had two blogs under the same sign in but I think I’ve figured it out. My comments about your blog posts can stay. Any comments about deleting stuff can go. Thanks. Keep writing music and blog posts!

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  6. I don’t have a musical bone in my body. An appreciation for music, yes, but very little ability to create anything. I am, however, married to a musician and the words you wrote here are absolutely beautiful and spot on.

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  7. Yeah, it’s true. Music takes you to a world of imagination, and let’s you do things that you may not be able to do otherwise. That feeling is just amazing and it can’t be expressed.
    Wish you success for your upcoming album. :)

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    1. Thankyou so much, that is really lovely to me. ;-)
      It is true, sometimes I feel that the pieces are little worlds that I have created and get to play around in. It is pretty special.
      Thanks for your wishes, I hope you are well,
      – J

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  8. “It is going to sound bare bones, lo fi and gorgeous. A record made in my home studio, using equipment held together with duct tape.”
    Love the way you describe that! It makes me think of all the great classics from the early years of recording. They had less tech to work with, yet they still kick the butts of most music today. Continue the great work!

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    1. Thankyou very much ;-) I am glad you enjoyed the article. The recordings are going really well, I am soooo looking forward to releasing on the 31st. The way things are going, I’m going to go to bed for a week afterward!
      It is a cool little journey, to be sure. ;-)
      Hope you are well, thanks for getting in touch,
      – J

      Like

  9. I always feel that music expresses emotions like no words could. Or a more accurate way of putting it would be..music transcends words..I always wish that I could play a musical instruments such as a guitar or keyboard but I am instead blessed with a gift for words (which I am very grateful). Keep up the great effort and enthusiasm! :)

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      1. You are most welcome, James.

        I am doing great. I wish you the same.

        Looking forward to more of your great music.

        Warmest Regards,
        Patrick

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  10. I’m curious how you feel about recording in your space versus playing live? I would think that the ultimate experience would be playing live, but then that opens a door to disappointment, as well. If you’re not well received or understood or if the expression just doesn’t seem to catch the right groove.

    The analogy that comes to mind is the difference between sex with another person and masturbation. They each have their place, but the latter is more reliable… ;)

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    1. It’s different, but the same. You have to be able to be rooted in that space that music comes from. Then, when you play in front of people, the energy of attention is like an amplification – I find that I can do things live that I can’t do by myself. I like the chaotic war of playing live, it’s where I feel most myself, but I also love the quiet constant practice of finding my way to that space and making music in a room everyday.
      I hope you are well,
      – J

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  11. I recorded 2 albums back in the 80s and 90s. The second was very experimental; I was interested in the origin of the split between western and eastern music – plain chanting and earlier forms. I tried to record an album that joined these two together again. Where can I hear your music?

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        1. I don’t any more. The experimental album sold less than 50 copies! The earlier one not only sold out locally (before I came to London) but was bootlegged for years. The tough thing is keeping going. There is a lot of corruption in the music industry – the higher you go, the more you feel you are prostituting yourself. You just have to keep going.

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          1. I’m sorry to hear that.
            I only have fringe experience with the record industry – everything I’ve heard and experienced seems like it wouldn’t really help with what I do. I like having complete control ;-) And not having to fight battles whilst making music. ;-)
            Cool to speak to you,
            – J

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    1. Piano is a beautiful thing – it has actually crept up on me – there is a lot more piano on this album than I thought there was going to be. ;-) How come never been able to write? I’d be really interested to hear why.
      Thanks for connecting – hope you are well,
      – J

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      1. I can think of tunes that I might like to scribble down, but they always sound the same as each other and personally I believe they’re a bit boring. I’ve never felt a strong urge to write music – being able to play it is enough for me. So I figure I’ll leave the writing up to those who are more capable and who enjoy it, like you.

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        1. OK, deal ;-)
          I think that, if you are drawn to it, you should do it, if you aren’t then you shouldn’t.
          I like your writings, homeschooledgirl.
          I hope you are well, thanks for getting in touch,
          – J

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  12. This was warming to read. I don’t actually record any of my own music, although I wish I could. I’m a lyricist, and could relate 100% when you talk about time disappearing and everything around you dissolving. It’s comforting to know there are others out there that have that passion for music, whatever the genre may be. Keep doing what you’re doing, live the dream!

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  13. I went and ate some honey after reading this. It’s those elusive little sensory things that flicker upwards into the non-sensory that musicians and music listeners always chase after.

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  14. I love music!!!! Mostly classics though.. I feel like that was when music was real and artists were genuine. You seem to be the same way. Glad I’m now following you. :) but not like a stalker! Lol

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  15. Beautiful. It is not enough for someone to conquer the world but to do it with as little tools as possible, to extend their version of the truth further into the swamps of the audience’s minds and hearts, never to resurface again. Best wishes on your record!

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  16. This blog was quite interesting. As a composer myself, I try to make music that matches my mood (but sometimes it comes out something totally different, though still pleasant sounding). I was just wondering whether or not you had occurrences like such when you recorded any songs of yours.

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    1. Not really ;-)
      I usually find that, whatever comes is surprising to me. It’s probably a more accurate representation of whatever is going on internally than I am aware of consciously. There is a definite lack ‘trying’ when I write. ;-)
      I hope that’s not too brutal to say, what kind of music do you compose?
      – J

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      1. I compose a wide variety of music… It’s actually kind of weird. Some of my piano pieces can be considered neo-classical in their own right, while others sound ballroom-waltz type or jazzy. I mean considering how I started composing two years ago when I was 14 isn’t much to go on. But through the time that I’ve composed, I’ve seen a huge increase in complexity in my music. How long have you been making music for?

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  17. The first song I ever wrote made me feel like I had the ability to go inside people’s hearts and feel their heartbeats alongside my own. I had fallen in-love all over again. Each time I play it on the piano the love is renewed. I started a Jux.com page: “There is Nothing like a Love Song” simply because there isn’t. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  18. I adore your description of why you make music! That is exactly how I feel when I write, or when I am sitting back on my couch with the headphones on and listening to music. It is a very moving experience to lose yourself in the magic of the moment. Good luck with the completion of your album!

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  19. Glad you enjoyed the blog entry today. I like your explanation above for the reason you make music. Looking forward to hearing it. I am not a musician, but love music and if you’re interested, check out, “Meet Me In The Sound,” another WordPress blog of mine: http://meetmeinthesound.wordpress.com It would benefit from a guest post from someone like you, whose heart in the right place when it comes to music.

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    1. Thankyou very much for your kind words.
      I checked out your blog, it looks exceedingly cool. ;-)
      Please feel free to reblog any of my stuff as guest posts, you are most welcome, just give me a credit.
      Hope you are well, thanks for connecting,
      – J

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      1. I will…but I won’t let you off the hook about guest posting (LOL!). Seriously, would love to have your thoughts in a post, maybe highlighting one of your songs. No particular format or style, just be you.

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  20. Gorgeous. Can’t wait to hear it. And, will be very curious how you feel once it’s all over. Happy that massive endeavor is complete? Sad it’s over? Excited to do it again?

    Cheers.

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    1. Obviously can’t say for certain, but I think I’m just going to carry on ;-)
      I do music pretty much everyday, so it will probably not change that much. I AM, however, really looking forward to being able to give a complete piece to people, and to talking to them about it ;-)
      Thankyou for your kind words, hope you are well,
      – J

      Like

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