February 17, 2012. No comments.
Jody lives in Portland Oregon. Many years ago I was in a bar with her and some friends and she sang a few songs she had written herself. There was one in particular that really moved me. It was at a time when I didn’t play anyone my own songs and it made me remember that one day I was going to have to get brave enough to do that. Again.
You see when you take your tentative first steps with anything – singing, songwriting, painting, writing, drawing… it makes a difference how others respond. Some people seem to think you come out the womb a fully fledged artist. Maybe some people do, but for most of us it’s a process of trial and error.
So be careful with your children’s, your loved ones, and other peoples dreams. Maybe they really shouldn’t go recording a rock album or getting on a stage in that tutu…Yet. But encourage their longings, point them in the right direction to get some real feedback, training, lessons… (preferably not family because family is usually too close. They mostly don’t want to see all of those innermost feelings explored in art. It’s a rather messy process.)
Most importantly, let them take their baby steps knowing you are behind them all the way. I’ve heard too many stories about how one badly placed comment left somebody’s newly found confidence shattered in an instant and it took years to recover. Creating anything truly authentic is a personal business. Exposing. Scary as hell. Makes you vulnerable.
On the other hand a seemingly insignificant but supportive comment can make a big positive difference. And if that person with the dreams is you, you might just find that one day in your future someone you hugely admire says in a matter-of-fact tone (like you came out the womb a fully fledged artist) “Yep. You’ve got it.”
Granted it may take twenty years before that happens. And another 10 before more than 100 people agree – enough to actually pay for it anyway. But it still could happen. And somehow you always knew it – bar the skills and the hours of practise and the school-of-hard-knocks experience you needed to get in place first – you always knew you had it in you.
I remember reading once that “your aspirations are your potential”. Mind you, I don’t think my 5-year old aspiration to be a ballet dancer was…but that didn’t last much after Grade 2… But looking back I can see that given the right kind of nurturing and encouragement most of my aspirations had the potential to grow into real possibilities. And still might.
But back to Jody. It turns out that whilst Jody inspired me to start singing my own songs in public, I in turn have helped inspire her to take the step of making her first album. Which is rather nice don’t you think? And typical of how this non-linear life we live seems to work…
So here she is. Check out her video and pledge her a bit of money if you can. You’ll get an album, support the arts, and maybe bag yourself a painting.