I am writing this at 06:34 in the morning.  I have just finished a recording session and am getting ready to do an edit.  This is, without a doubt, the craziest and most intense period of my life I have ever experienced…

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I generally get up around 3 in the afternoon; then I meditate and get straight into studio work.  About 11 at night I grab a nap on the floor of the studio, bounce up, make coffee, meditate again and get into recording.  I’ll go until around 5 or 6 (whenever I start to hear the cars whispering past my window), then I’ll edit what I have recorded.  I usually hit the sack around 9-10 A.M.

The results have been really good.  I am not too sure about the health implications of doing this long term tho.  I think the first thing I may do when the record is released on the 31st is grab a nap. ;-)

But I am continually breaking new ground, simply because I have to.  This is the real worth of the process for me.  Over the last month, I have discovered new and better ways to do almost everything that I do with music.  It seems that, even if a problem looks insurmountable, if you are really locked in and committed to delivering something, a solution will inevitably present itself.  This knowledge alone is worth it’s weight in gold.  I am doing things now that I literally could not do 3 months ago, simply because they need to be done.

Everybody has their own way of dealing with stress or pressure, most have a variety. I think that, when faced with stress, humans naturally either want to repress it or escape in some fashion.  But the mystery third option is to use the energy to do things that you couldn’t normally do.

I have had a few ‘moments’ over the last few months.  I think that this is inevitable when you set yourself such a big goal.  But, invariably, whenever I feel the possibility of stress, it is because I am focusing on the end result rather than the process itself.  Even tho my body is ragged, the process remains a constant joy.  It is where I am able to find the most peace.  It is, in a very real sense, my sanctuary.

The pieces are settling into place.  The record is still evolving, but is also, definitely, solidifying.  Sometimes I hear little flashes and they blow me away; sometimes, I hear something that sounds truly like my own music.  Hearing these things is worth any lack of sleep, any crazy schedule, any hardship to me.  I would happily break my body over the alter of the record for this.  It is beyond price.

I wouldn’t trade it.  I don’t wish that it was already over.  It is a beautiful place to be.  I like the deadline.  I like knowing that time is finite.  I like the focus and the pressure.  If you said to me that I could have more time, I would say: ‘no thankyou’.

I am very happy in the crush.

[13 days until release] ;-)


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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138 thoughts on “ The Time of the Crush (or: Alchemy for Beginners…) ”

  1. Stress never feels like stress when you are doing something you love. It may be exhausting but the sense of fulfillment balances any negatives. You have to grab the moments when inspiration is riding high or you may miss the very essence that makes you who you are. Best of luck with your music but know that you have placed a piece of yourself in the writing and producing of it so that makes it special.

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    1. Thankyou very much.
      I really agree with you about this. I think that there is a prejudice towards comfort that is sold as a natural inclination for humans whereas I think the truth is closer to the fact that: hard work for something that you are passionate for is an absolutely necessary human activity.
      Thanks a lot,
      – J

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    1. Depends on where in the world you are I think… ;-)
      I live in Edinburgh so today is the 30th, release day is tomorrow ;-) I am really looking forward to it.
      My record is crazy and beautiful and chaotic and full of light. I am well pleased.
      If you check in on it – let me know your thoughts,
      I hope you are well,
      – J

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      1. Will surely check it out, sounds like a lot of love (all the love) has gone into it.
        Best of luck again and enjoy the big day!

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  2. Hi James – we were just having this conversation in Psy class….stress as a motivator. I had mentioned that there are some who function best under the crush.
    Not a bad place to be – your process to a dream achieved. Who would want to skip that?
    Crush on :)

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  3. Thanks for liking my blog post! Thank you for your words. It’s exactly how I’ve felt the past few months trying to release my first single and music video. We have the same release date! YAY! Cheers! I’ll be sure to check out your album! :)

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  4. I really appreciate your thought process on a third way to deal with the stress that is apart of our lives through the energy it produces. Your words are true, as I too find peace in the energy it provides. As well I set goals very high and focus on the end result. I continue to work desperately to teach myself new ways at understanding life. BTW I never really understood Alchemy, but that is probably a personal issue haha.

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    1. Hey there ;-)
      Thanks a lot for your kind words – The idea around alchemy was that you could take a base (worthless) metal and thru a super secret process transmute it into gold. So, for me it’s a kind of metaphor for taking the things that most people consider negative (stress etc), and, thru correct processing, turning that energy into drive (gold), and using it to go deeper and further than you could without it. I think that a lot of people consider anything uncomfortable to be negative, whereas I believe that the process of growth and reaching your goals involves learning to become comfortable with discomfort. I hope that makes sense ;-)
      Be well always, nice to hear from you,
      – J

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      1. I would agree (great description), and yet how often do negativity and uncomfortable go together. Often I think, but rarely every pulled aside to analyze how to turn it into a positive energy as you so well described. Looks like if I keep working at it I will have a LOT!!!! of gold ;)

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  5. Excellent post. Deadlines do offer an opportunity for growth that is otherwise out of reach. I wish I faced them as gracefully as you do, though. ;)

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      1. Meditation and Lots of Coffee is going to be my next workshop title! I throw the word ” alchemy” around a lot in Yoga class, encouraging oxygen as the driving force of this transmuting process while they are moving through the asanas, I have them stay dialed into the right brain and out of left brain. It is a practice and a process and the distillation comes out in there savasana or meditation at the end, which I call FREEDOM, which I feel is our journey back to our original breath. I like the Idea of adding in that we can choose to over ride the stress into breakthroughs towards our goals! Good Luck Crush! looking forward to hearing the GOLD

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