A lot can change in a YEAR...
It's been almost a year since I last wrote on my blog, time has felt like its moved so quickly but it's also dragged many times throughout this year. I started this blog with the intention of being honest about my experience as an Artist within the music industry, I wanted to share my thoughts and help other artists. This blog was also a great way for me to process my thoughts, I'm always thinking about what's next, how life is going and what I can do to improve and wow have I taken that seriously in 2022. As it's been almost a year, I thought I'd write down some things that have been on my mind this year and also give you guys some advice too, after all a lot can change in a year.
Since December 2021, there has been quite a few things going on in my personal life and because of this I found myself lacking motivation at the start to this year. I had big plans and dreams, but I felt as if they couldn't be achieved due to my circumstances and I was really struggling with my confidence. People often say to me 'you look so confident on stage', and I think I'm happy on stage but I am always so nervous, hence the little laugh I do after every sentence! People always say to me 'you are doing so well', but in my mind I'm not where I want to be and so I'm not doing well. I am always so grateful for how far I've come, I started off by busking on the streets as a student and now I'm gigging every weekend and releasing my own music. I am so proud of myself but I feel every artist probably has this feeling too, the feeling of wanting to be happy with what you've achieved, but you're so focused on the next step. For me, my biggest dream is to be performing on big stages, having my music be known and listened to by millions of people. It's a dream, an absolute end goal for me, will it happen? I have absolutely no idea, but you can bet that I'll work as hard as I can to achieve this goal. I have always been told by very wise people in my life to 'enjoy the journey', and so this is something that I have really learnt this year. I have enjoyed the highs and not focused so much on future goals that I'd love to achieve now, because it takes a brick by brick to build a wall and I'm hoping my patience and hard work pays off.
Another wonderful bit of advice I've discovered this year is saying no and taking more time to myself. For those who know me I am always gigging. Every weekend of every year, even when I got married, I was still gigging. I love to gig and I really hate saying no, but this year I challenged myself to do better than I did in 2021, I promised myself I'd take more breaks to spend with family and friends. Sure enough, I stuck to my promise, going to events like Comic-con, having my birthday off and actually going on my honeymoon. As creatives our brains never really switch off, so I find it hard to relax but this is something that I feel I have gotten a little better at. Saying no has also been a huge thing for me too, I have had many run ins with people who make me feel pressured to say yes, where as now I just say no. I remember at gigs where I'd want to just get home if it had been full on, staff would ask me to play later, or they wouldn't pay the fee I asked, I use to just accept this where as now if I'm not happy with something I just say no. It's an important tool saying no and I'm thankful that I've learnt to do this more as its actually opened up some wonderful opportunities later on or its meant that I've avoided some places that I wouldn't have been comfortable at.
The final thing I've learnt in 2022 since last year is to honestly be authentic and yourself. As cheesy as it sounds I had a moment like this during the spring of this year. I had always released Pop music and I wasn't really sure if my style was really me or if I just couldn't really be bothered to work on my image and sound. I was always trying to cater to other people and I cared so much about what everyone thought of me. This is an issue I know many artists struggle with, so although I didn't feel alone, I still felt very out of touch with myself and like I wasn't really releasing MY music. In the spring, I sat down and listened to a load of my old CD's, many of them Linkin Park and Paramore albums. When I was listening I felt like I could really relate to this music and I thought to myself that I'd always loved the sound but that I didn't feel I could ever make something like it. In true Carley fashion, I was telling myself I couldn't do it but in another true Carley fashion, I was also writing a song at the time that I didn't feel was very pop genre. The lyrics were angry, fierce and they just needed that edge and so I went to my producer and sure enough we made the sound I had been wanting for years but never thought I could achieve. The same month I went shopping and got a bunch of new clothes that I had always wanted to wear but I didn't feel confident enough to do so and sure enough I felt awesome wearing them! I finally felt like I found my style and my genre within a few weeks of eachother! It had taken my years, it had taken many conversations and alot of tuning into myself to realise that I wanted to make and write music that was more suited to the Alternative Rock genre. I had struggled with my identity and brand for so long, that this was the biggest relief of this year and certainly something that had changed alot since 2021.
I wanted to share these thoughts today, with my birthday coming up too I thought it'd be awesome to write on this blog again! Getting another year older I do feel a little wiser ;)
I have big plans for 2023, I'm hoping to achieve more than I ever dreamed that I would, maybe I won't but I have faith that the work that I put in will pay off and aslong as I try my best then I'm happy. For the artists who are reading this, I hope you feel encouraged by the bits that I've learnt this year. The truth is, no one has it figured out, there's no secret formula to music, you just have to make music for yourself and hope it resonates with those around you. Thank you guys so much for reading!