Saturday, October 27, 2012

I've been thinking a lot about publicity this week. With the release of my album next year, publicizing it is naturally a key component in the process. Plus, I've done a couple of interviews recently, and thus the issue is relevant to me right now.

In the last couple of years I have come to express myself quite freely in the context of my blog, and I've come to trust that saying how I feel publicly is safe. I'm doing it on my own terms and can stand by every line. I have also been very open on stage about who I am and what I think, and that has felt empowering. Yet I am noticing that the situation is quite different in an interview, which is always written through the point of view of the journalist (unless it's via email). Many more things come into play, not the least of which being my personal shit and the journalist's personal shit when it comes to people and social situations. There's something quite unnatural about it, come to think of it: speaking about personal stuff with a complete stranger, who then writes about it into a magazine. In hindsight, it makes one want to take the word "personal" out of the earlier sentence. 

My point is this: doing an interview is not the same thing as me writing a blog or speaking to an audience. I enjoy interviews, I enjoy speaking to people in that capacity, but it's also daunting as hell, because you give up all control after the fact. It leaves you very vulnerable. I also find it challenging to draw the line about what is healthy to share and what is not--what feels good to talk about and what is excessive. But I trust that it is a matter of getting back in the groove of things and learning in the process, through trial and error. Despite having done a lot of publicity in my life, I am still trying to find a healthy balance with it.

What I really want is for my work to speak for itself. Being that publicity is part of my work too, I have to have a vision for it as well. That, among other things, is what I've learned this week.

“Just a reminder, what other people think of you is none of your business.” 
- Ze Frank

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This is the eighth and last week of me studying a university course on Sustainability, that I found online on an ingenious website called Coursera. It's been a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about an issue that interests me a great deal, and what's best of all--it's for free! I've also been taking a course in Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, which has also expanded my horizons quite a bit.

These courses are a first step for me as I'm planning on going back to school to finally get my GED. Back when I was 16 going on 17, I moved to New York, dropping out of high school to do so. At the time I didn't fully comprehend what was happening to my life, and it seemed like the right choice to pursue an international career in music then. At least I was made to believe so. In hindsight, my opinion is that I was too young and too insecure, and that the choice of discontinuing my education was not a wise choice. I don't know that it was even My choice to begin with. A lot of the things in my life at that time seemed to be happening to me, with me not being a conscious participant.

It was only a few years back when a friend of mine acknowledged my intelligence for what to me seemed like the first time. Up until then, I suppose it was in the best interest of people around me to encourage me to think I wasn't all that bright. Since then though, I have used up much of my time learning about a plethora of different subjects and I find myself already to be a different woman because of it. But this is not the end, this is merely the beginning of it. See what a little bit of encouragement can do to a human being..?!

Education and knowledge is empowering, and I've been delighted to see that a lot of information is available for free for anyone who wants it. As is the case of my GED. It is not an investment of money for me, instead it is an investment of time. I am now ready to claim what in some ways was taken from me a long time ago: my sense of being educated, adult! And for those of you who would also like to learn more and expand your minds, no hassle and for free, here is a link to the aforementioned ingenious website:

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I've always thought of myself as a warm person... Especially because for most of my life I was feeling insecure and inferior to most everyone else. I was eager to please and submissive, and I suppose I mistook that as warmth. Turns out that warmth is something utterly different. In my opinion true warmth can only come from being comfortable in one's own skin and being open, not scared of others.

Even though in the last few years I've learned to trust on a level that I never did before, I've discovered recently that I'm still very suspicious of others. Especially if they say something nice to me... It's connected to a feeling that I've always had, that if anything good happens to me, a bus is soon a-coming to run me over. A mechanism that is in place in one area of one's life, often extends to other areas as well...

I've been working on being more trusting, more warm and more open in the last couple of weeks, and I'm already reaping the benefits: people are being way nicer to me in return! I never realized that I (mostly) hadn't looked people in the eye before, that I often neglected to thank people when they complimented me, that I drifted away in conversations... I have not been welcoming, for fear that I let others get too close and they try to hurt me.

I'm not so scared anymore. I think it comes from the knowledge that I can be assertive when I need to be, that I know how to say no. Without that, people do sometimes take advantage. But I am a warm person, and I'm not scared to let people see that now. No one can take from me what I don't give.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

There are no shortcuts--not really. At least every short cut I've taken, I've had to pay for dearly later on. In some ways I feel like the way my career began was one such "short cut." At 13 when I started, I had not had a chance to really consider what kind of music I would like to sing, in what language, how I would want to look, what I would like to say... All these things were imposed on me by other people, and I was ok with it, as I was too young to know any better. Yes, I had huge success immediately, but it wasn't on my own terms. And for that, indeed, I have paid a price.

The reason why I think about this right now is that two nights ago, my current record company ECR Music Group had a very successful event celebrating its relaunch, rebranding and expansion. Just as for me personally, there have been no shortcuts for this company. It has been hard work and dedication over 10 years that has brought the label and us artists here, where we have the foundation to reach for ever bigger and better things and more success.

I just had a candid moment with Blake Morgan (the CEO of the company) last week about our collective experiences in the music business. He told me that at every point in his life and career as he's advanced, time after time he has found himself to be in the "before"-picture rather than the"after"-picture. This can be a frustrating realization and I've felt this way many times in my life as well. But the truth is, in a healthy way we might always feel that way. Certainly I have mistakenly thought at certain times in my career, that I've been in the "after"-picture, but life does throw us quite a few curve-balls... What I told him in response was this: "I have never felt this good about being in the 'before'-picture." I find myself to be in a wonderful place with my label, on the verge of some sort of greatness.. I'm ready to put the work in, ready to take every step needed to get there, wherever I and we are going. I don't need any short cuts and I'm quite peaceful right here where I am.

"A shortcut is the longest distance between two points. "