On Self Promotion

I sleep better the day after my album launch. It’s funny that a human generally unfazed by the day to day of life can be so emotionally swept up into a little sixty minute event. In the grand scheme of things, this launch represents an infinitesimal part of my life thus far, one twenty-fourth of a day that represents one seventh of a week tied into fifty-two weeks over some thirty years.

The human psyche is a wild thing. The actual peformance aspect of performing isn’t the deterent. Organizing gigs or rehearsing band members or emailing press contacts isn’t an issue. Building a music career, whilst tough, feels like merely stacking a series of little tasks together into interminably larger projects. A tour is fifteen shows broken down into a series of contacts, each with an assignable name and an email address. Contact the right people and it falls together.

But promoting myself is the stumbling block, the thing that grows my sense of unease. Having to sell to friends and family and the wider unknown public (internet and otherwise) is tough, and you never quite feel like you’re doing it correctly. I tie my self-worth into seeing people at shows, and I understand it isn’t healthy.

I examine the next step. I’m falling in love with performance from a singer-songwriter’s perspective. The songs begin to develop, the playing starts to take care of itself, the stories get polished. I’m slowly developing as a musician, and while I acknowledge I still have years and years to go before I’m completely comfortable with myself as a performer (perhaps reaching that plateau could spell the end of this iteration of my musical life), an enjoyment of the process is apparent. Enjoyment of the process is the crucial part. It allows me to dive into ideas, to spread myself thin between a million different artists and songs and lyrics. Anything that tickles my interest can be a kick-off point for an hour or day or lifetime of study.

So how do I clash these two things together? I’m invested in myself as a musician. I’m interested in seeing myself develop. I’m excited to see what happens over the next couple of years, and I enjoy nearly every aspect of what I do. The only thing that troubles me is self-promotion.

As always, I come back to Paul Kelly.

‘Stumbling Block’

I can’t get around it and I can’t get through it
I can’t go over it and I can’t go under it
I’m scared of what I might find if I ever get behind it
Stumbling block, stumbling block, stumbling block

If I wait a while it just might go away
I suppose I should just get down on my knees and pray
I’m sure if I could get just one good night’s sleep it’ll look better in the day
Stumbling block, stumbling block, stumbling block

Maybe I should pay someone to come here and remove it
Or I could just chip away at it bit by little bit
I guess I could build me a bomb and blow it up in one big hit
Stumbling block, stumbling block, stumbling block

Some of my friends say I should call in the mystics
Or find me a philosopher to come here and tell me it don’t exist
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is
Stumbling block, stumbling block, stumbling block

If I ever get done with this I’m gonna make a brand new start
I gotta get my thinking straight and put the horse before the cart
If I had the balls I’d wrap this thing up in plastic and call it art!
Stumbling block, stumbling block, stumbling block

I’m gonna call up every TV station
And the museum of science, maybe they’re looking for a special donation
I could sell tickets and take it on tour all around the whole goddamn nation
Stumbling block, stumbling block, stumbling block

It’s in your mind, she says, it’s within you
She likes saying stuff like that, I got a problem if it’s true
If you can’t get rid of what’s inside you it’s bound to destroy you!
Stumbling block, stumbling, block, stumbling block

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