Welcome to part two of a new series by local musician Nick Bullock, of the Sound Awake. Stay tuned each month to follow his journey as he tackles writing 52 songs in 52 weeks. To read the first installment, click here.
I’m realizing that I’m a creature of habit. I suppose we all are to one degree or another, even those amongst us who claim to live life on the anarchists edge… there is still predictability in chaos. Anyways, I realized that the first five, or six songs in this project have been kind of like movements, akin to a concerto in form. Meaning, they do adhere to a structure, but its more like a set of steps that are intended to get to different feelings, that all lead to a pinnacle, to a “bang”. And I have a tendency to write within that format.
As soon as I notice something like this about the musician in me, I immediately want to start trying different things. I would love to chalk that all up to “artistic free spirit”, but I think it’s a little more complicated than that. I think it’s in part due to my restless nature, and feeling like I’ve never really been sure of my niche.
That and I’m always looking for the next challenge, my next cliff to jump over.
It makes me wonder what it would be like if I did write a song that was a big hit: would I pat myself on the back and claim victory in my own personal game of “king of the hill”? Would I be satisfied with staying there, making bank (I assume)? Or would I still feel restless? Would I embrace the habits that got me the hit, or would I cast them aside like an over used bath towel?
Which brings me to another question. Have I stopped caring what people think? If so, is this a good thing? Do we as song writers, directors, sculptors, painters et al just do what we want, or do we make our choices based on what we think will be successful? Is chasing success part of chasing the dream? Or is it all a weird balancing act. Like a reality dance competition, with the public being the judges. First, we dare to walk out onto the floor and begin with what lies in our hearts. Then we shake, twirl and twist with all the modern and hip urgency required to win a competition, hoping the judges see in us what we see in ourselves.
I think for me the answer lies in “I don’t care anymore.” When I said that to a friend this past week, he reminded me that there is a difference between not caring because I am bitter or broken, and not caring because I am too busy doing the work to care. I just don’t have the bandwidth to care. My time, focus, energy and intention is way too busy with doing the work. And it dawned on me, as I was talking with my friend, that this indeed is a very important part of why I started this journey. On top of my regular production work that I do, on top of being the best husband I can be, on top of being the best friend that I can be, I just need to do the work. The niche stuff will figure itself out, or it won’t, either way. I’m too busy doing the work, writing and producing a new song every week, for a whole year, to care what other people really think. I’m too busy learning and growing and reinventing myself… last week it was with the help of a drum machine, and the lack of concerto forms, this week… who knows? Of course I want everyone to like me, my songs etc, but thats human nature. But I don’t have the time to really worry about it, because I have to go and finish mixing another song for this coming week…