Updated: Jun 28, 2018
They say that when a child reaches the age of 7, they’ve finally stepped into what the French call ‘L’âge de raison’ - the age of wisdom, as I like to call it.
If this is anything to go by, the last 30 years have been a quest to get back inside the skin of my 7-year-old me, a quest for wisdom. Any kind of wisdom…
Je Grandis may have been one way of doing it. When this first album was coming to life, I was still coming to grips with the fact that, in my 30’s, I was lost. So completely lost and uncentered, fleeting, flaky.. I was just starting to realize the need we all have for introspection, meeting ourselves all the way and loving ourselves even more.
A few years ago, a friend of mine, beautiful singer-songwriter and vocal coach, Heston Francis asked me a question, during a conversation where he was getting to understand what I was after, having hired him as vocal coach. I remember saying ‘I’d love to be a beast, a monster on stage and in life. I want to be heard. I think I have things to say’. I had always felt that need to have as much presence, weight, gravitas and to be as un-ignorable as a beast. As grand and impressive as a monster. A beautiful monster that could fascinate her crowd and keep them interested in what she had to say. Hearing that statement, Heston asked me flat out ‘Do you think you’re a beast? Do you think you have a beast inside of you?’ to which the only reply I was able to express was collapsing and bursting into tears, incapable of uttering a proper ‘yes’… incapable, at the time, to believe what I now know in my bones, in my very core.
Another time I burst into tears (for days, this time) was when Mike Massy (composer and producer of Je Grandis) asked me to talk about myself and trajectory, at our very first encounter. Mike had asked me to talk about how I’d gotten where I was at the time (we’re talking a good 6 years ago). As soon as I started my sentence, I burst into tears. These ones lasted for days if not weeks…
No man had ever made me cry this hard and long. I was my own biggest heartbreaker. I’d been so scared. For so so long… The fear that ruled me seemed so utterly unbreachable, unshakable at the time…
I was just scared of dreaming big, of believing in myself. People talk about fear of failure all the time. Try fear of success. That one is the real bitch to look out for. Fear of failure ends once you’ve failed the first time. That’s all it takes. You realize it’s not nearly as bad as you’d thought, you’re pleasantly surprised at the fact you’re actually still alive, and - gasp - you’re actually going to make it with just a couple of bruises here and there. What happens when a wish took you an entire lifetime for you to dare formulate it, and then it actually becomes a reality?
My first reflex has always been ‘This is too good to be true’ or ‘What if it ends? It’s bound to end, so what’s the point in savoring it? it’s just going to ache when it ends’… Quite sick, isn’t it? Then you wonder where the self-loathing moments come from :) Welcome to the world and mind of a high-functioning anxious performer:)
I touch wood today, as I reflect on the past 4 weeks, the past 6 months, and the past 6 years when the real paradygm shift happened for me. When I started taking myself seriously as an artist. When I started allowing myself to write and others to read what I wrote, without fear of judgement. When I grabbed my fears by the neck and said ‘You know what? I’m gonna do this with or without you. So you better get on my side or fuck off’. That’s when I started working on my very first original work. And that felt tremendous at the time.
6 months ago, I moved to Barcelona. Terrified, I have to admit, but this time, walking alongside my fears. I was no longer looking at them as obstacles in my journey, but more as a realistic companion whose voice needed to be heard at times, a companion I had coffee with from time to time, letting them vent every now and then, and reasoning with them in order to make my way to the other side. I’ve learned to tame the fears, to work with them, and let them drive and motivate me to eradicate their reasons for being. I've learned to push myself, to get past the self-loathing and judgement when I messed up, and Lord knows I’ve messed up along the way. I was starting from scratch in every aspect of my life, building a network, coming up with musical projects, working on existing musical projects, plus producing and hosting a web series for the very first time… it wasn’t easy, but it sure was magical.
The past few weeks were the culminating point of everything I’ve been investing in for years…
I’ve stepped into the very spot where Michael Jackson himself stood at Metropolis Studios in London. My vocals are forever engraved there in their digital archive. That, to me, is priceless. Of course, I can’t wait to have the material published! But as they say so rightfully: it’s the journey - not the destination - that matters most.
To me, personally, it’s all those steps along the way. It’s the way itself that I’m passionate about. It’s what keeps me alive and motivated to get out of bed every day. I’ve been blessed lately, having the genuine support and nods from fellow musicians who I think are absolutely incredible. To be taken seriously by my peers. That, to me, is the first sign of success and it tastes sweet:)
In the last weeks, I’ve also written and recorded a brand new song - my first collaboration right here in Barcelona - 100% made in Barcelona. I’m actually contributing to the local sound landscape with something that will hopefully be unique and loved by many. To be able to even say that feels surreal to me. The older I grow, the more invested I feel in my responsibility as an artist, to say things that will matter in the right way. Things that will influence in a positive way. Always.
People often ask why I don’t want children. For me, work I have done or will do, work that is un-ignorable, work that changes the way people think, work that makes people feel something has its own sense of purpose. It’s a being, an entity that needs my full attention and investment. It’s my child in a way. And I’m hoping it outlives me for a very long time…
Having that last somewhere in people’s souls, in the noosphere, is as solid and a proof of longevity as children of flesh and blood. Every project I’ve been involved in has taken everything out of me. Every single recording or performance is ‘The one’ for me and I’ll throw all my hopes, scars and dreams into it.
Will any of this stick? In anyone’s soul? I hope so… I always feel like the worst thing that could ever happen to me is to be forgotten. Or to be met with indifference. To be ignored. Both on a personal and a professional level. Blame it on Freud, blame it on fear, blame it on fairytales and the absurdity of us.
Here is to more. Here is to fear. Here is to love.