Do you know that meme that’s gone around Facebook about a million times that has written in bold, “Badly explain your profession”? Everyone comments with zero hope for their career; how may an alien from outer space perceive what they do? This is mine: “I move my hands around a piece of wood with metal tied to it and tell people about my feelings.”

In March 2014, I packed up my life in Australia and hopped to Central America.

No, that’s not the middle of the USA; Central America is a region all in itself. A culturally rich, heavenly jungly, rice and beans eating, stunningly beautiful part of the world.

I had no agenda for my time away – which ended up stretching to living in 7 countries (i think) over 19 months. All I knew was that I wanted to open my eyes and open my heart. So my rule was that if there was somewhere I could practise yoga, write songs, and if water were close by, I’d go.

It was a month or so into the trip that I joined up and wrote my first song with I Heart Songwriting Club, which, at that point, was just a handful of friends emailing each other songs from wherever we were in the world. I was in Nicaragua, taking Spanish classes, walking the streets of a tiny town called San Juan Del Sur.

Although I was having the time of my life, I felt heartbreakingly isolated from my musical community back home. Not only that, but I was still wondering what the f*^k I had been thinking hopping on a plane to the other side of the world when I’d released a new album less than 12 months ago. I should have been touring, making music videos and trying to progress in my career or something.

The answer, over time, became blindingly clear.

To write another album, of course.

As a songwriter, my work is never done.

I’ll never have seen everything there is to see, I’ll never know everything there is to know, I’ll never have expressed everything there is to express.

Yes, this is just being human. But as songwriters, we get to live in perpetual looking, asking and expressing. Somehow we then turn it into music. We dance in that space of confusion and knowing, of seeing and searching, of keeping it all in and letting it all out.

When I first started writing and playing gigs, I suffocated in my self absorbedness. I wrote songs about my life, experience, and feelings. I stood on stage, moved my hands around a piece of wood with metal tied to it, and told people about my feelings. As a result, I have always loved telling stories, but I started getting pretty sick of just telling mine.

So, of course, mine are the eyes I see through. The heart that feels and words that come tumbling out onto the page. Over time, I have learned to open my eyes wider, my heart deeper and choose my words. Not only tell my story but, just maybe, somebody else’s as well.

Writing with I Heart Songwriting Club supports me in this.

It helps me stay out of my head and out of my arse and let go of the need to be perfect. Hearing other writers songs fresh out of the gates is inspiring and reminds me that we are all the same. No, that’s not just a cliche line to make you all feel warm and fuzzy. We are all the same. The more I observe myself and write about what I see and feel, the more I see myself in others.

The very first song I wrote for the club, in that tiny hotel room in San Juan Del Sur, was a song called ‘Hope.’ Three years later, it sits somewhere in the middle of my new album, ‘The Water,’ which tells the story of the places I went, the people I met, the things I learned and the things I still don’t know.

It’s a privilege to tell these stories. Stand in a studio and create the perfect bass line or banjo part. To sing until the song feels as gorgeous in your ears as it does in your heart. It’s a privilege to stand on a stage, moving your hands over a piece of wood with metal tied to it and telling people about your feelings. Because whatever I’m feeling, struggling with, learning, hoping – I can guarantee everyone else is too.

By |2022-04-13T08:35:39+10:00July 1st, 2017|0 Comments

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