I have been contemplating producing my next album. And in this space of planning pre-production, I am revisiting the lessons learned, skills attained and strengths realized in the production and release of my first debut album, "Urban Angel Songs." I was so engulfed in the actual doing of the work, while being a SAHM of my then 2 year old son, that I didn't think to document it or write about my process. In this series, I will share with you some of the realizations that I had and have come to since then.
Lesson #1: Being Brave
As artists, we are always coming face to face with what is sometimes called the "internal critic." What I have found is that this "Critic" tends to be a culmination of all the people or situations in our lives that have made us feel less than confident or "good" about our abilities to create something (music, art, a garden, an organization) from a place of inspiration. I have come to believe that the only way to heal ourselves from such a critical inner voice is to do the very thing we are inspired to do, whether we are good at it or not.
In late 2007, after finally leaving an abusive relationship, I decided that I wanted to produce an album of my music; music that had been sitting in my head and on cassette tapes for quite some time. I felt at that point I had the physical and psychic freedom to move forward with my creative urges. I was overjoyed with this new found sense of freedom and possibility. I was also terrified, because I didn't know how in the world I would be able to do it. I was and am a songwriter and singer, not a producer. I knew very little about music production, let alone digital music production. I knew my music and I knew had ideas about what I wanted it to sound like, but I was truly in the dark about where to start.
These moments of uncertainty and lack of information sent me into a mental tailspin that almost made me back off from the project completely. "You're not a producer..." "No one will take you seriously...You really think you can produce an album? Yeah right..." All this crap, going on in my head. I don't remember the exact moment when I finally decided that I was moving forward "For Real," but once I did, there was nothing that stopped me. Yes, that "Voice" kept coming talking (still does,) but it was easily drowned out by the sounds of harmonies blasting loudly in my ear.
I have come to know, not just believe, that we develop bravery, not only by what we tell ourselves, but by the things that we do. It is one thing for me to have said I wanted to produce an album, but a whole other thing for me to spend countless hours and months in "the lab" alone (when Omer was asleep) or making beats while he played quietly next to me. A whole other things to keep moving regardless of my fears. I became braver in believing in myself and my dream, by both the thinking that I could do it and more importantly...doing it.
(Lesson #2 The Power of an Written Down Action Plan)