The Making Of A Musician

17th May 2016

And here we are again.

And by we, I mean me. I first started a journal of my musical endeavours fourteen years ago, when I took my first tentative steps into writing music and forming a band. It seems like a very long time ago now, and I guess in the scope of a human lifetime it pretty much is, especially in terms of a career.

I could wax lyrical about that time, how naive and optimistic I was, but that’s another story for another day. That journal was destroyed or lost, yet another byproduct of the toxic relationship that nearly destroyed me, my family, my friendships and ultimately my life.

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Young and happy. Before all the bad shit

What it did destroy was any semblance of a fledgling music career I could have had. I have spent the vast majority of the last decade clawing my way at an agonising pace back to my starting point. My twenties were essentially thrown away in one terrible decision that has echoed down the years like the tolling of some apocalyptic bell. But this journal is not going to be a futile exercise in self-pity; it is once again going to document my efforts to carve out a career for myself as a singer/songwriter. Today, at 1am on a May morning, we are at ground zero.

So who am I today? Good question. I’m a self-employed guitar teacher. I work two days a week in a video game shop as a safety net. I’m a husband, and a father to two beautiful girls. I have done that thing so terrifying for aspiring musicians to hear – I have ‘settled down’. I also sing and play acoustic guitar in a wedding band. Yes, I’m a wedding singer. Certainly not what the twenty year old Matt envisioned when he wrote his first angst fuelled compositions. I’m pretty sure he’d be fucking horrified. Still, its good fun, good money, free food, often a free bar and I work with some top notch musicians who are also great people.

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Me finding out in ten years I’ll be a wedding singer

I guess that’s what I do, but not who I am. So who am I? I have no fucking idea. I guess none of us do, but still. All I know is that I am, like so many others, ‘unfulfilled’. I’ve had several bands and music projects in the last fourteen years, some with potential and some total non-starters. Life inevitably got in the way. Sometimes I have got in my own way. And I finally feel that now is the time to find that twenty year old who strayed from the path and got lost, and guide him back to the light with the illuminating torch of hindsight and experience.

In the last month I have started writing again – two new songs have formed, one of which; ‘The Devil’s Shoulder’ (initially conceived as a hard rock ‘ballad’ but now a dark acoustic piece) is not yet complete, and another with the title of ‘Green Eyes’ that has been finished tonight. I think I’m pleased with it. The subject matter deals with jealousy and shame – specifically, looking at other people’s lives who you haven’t seen in years and realising they have become successful while you perceive your own life to be lacking. If they struck up a conversation with you, would you tell them the truth about your situation or would you lie? Or avoid them all together?

I’m not an idiot. I’m old enough to know that the grass is always greener on the other side and appearances can be deceptive, but sometimes you can’t help but feel the sting of envy and shame.

Its actually this feeling that has prompted me to begin this journal. I’m going to do it – I’m going to establish a career as a solo artist at the age of thirty three; and I’m going to show you how I do it. I have more skills now than I had then; in singing, playing, composition, patience, contacts, knowledge. It can be done. I will be who I am meant to be. It needs to begin with a spiritual and physical revolution. I can’t create and have the fortitude to keep going against all the odds until I make peace with myself and feel whole in body and mind. So not only will I embark on actively pursuing my original music; I will eat well and train my body for the trials to come. It begins here. I hope you’ll join me.

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