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Some Timely Advice From David Bowie

David Bowie, Inspiration, Thoughts

Stumbling across this video of a David Bowie interview from 1997 was exactly the lesson that I needed to learn today. Here is his response to the question “Do you have any advice for artists?”

Here’s the summary of what David Bowie says below…


“Never work for other people at what you do. Always remember that the reason that you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself or how you coexist with the rest of society.

I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfil other people’s expectations. I think they generally produce their worst work when they do that.

And the other thing I would say is that if you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little out of your depth, and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”


Not a truer set of words spoken.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

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My Break From Live Performance – Eight Months In

Buddhism, Creativity, Thoughts

As you might be aware, at the end of 2015, I decided to say goodbye to playing covers and take a break from live performance to give myself the space to work out what I wanted to do next musically.

Even though I have played the occasional gig in that time due to the opportunity landing in my lap rather than me chasing it down, what I have found eight months into my break is that…

I really don’t miss playing live
I know that I will eventually start to “miss” the whole playing in front of an audience thing but for the time being I’m happy to sit in my studio and write, record and get back to be a creative person. I am finding that I have written more songs and have collaborated with more writers than I have ever before… And I’m loving it.

I have more time at my disposal
I have my weekends back for a start and because of that I have more choice in how I spend my time now. I’m finding that I’m more able to slow down life and smell the roses a bit more than I used to. I’m able to reconnect with family and friends and even catch a live show from time to time. All of this make me feel much more grounded than I had been

I have less stress and anxiety in my life
With the constant need to hustle for gigs now gone for the time being, I’m finding that I have less stress and anxiety in my life. Having a non-music related day job which provides the income I need has taken the pressure off. For me, music is now becoming more of an act of creativity again rather than just a functional that provided me employment.

I am a more focussed individual
Just the fact that I’ve been able to make more changes to this website in a number of days than I have in the last 18 months or so is testament to the fact that less stress and anxiety in my life + more time at my disposal = more focus.

I have re-discovered my spiritual path
The long periods of contemplation have enabled me to rediscover a spiritual path I had been exploring while living in Sydney between 1994 and 1999. This path revolves mainly around Buddhist philosophy (without the religious overtones) with mindfulness and meditation as part of the mix. I will go deeper into this in a future post

Do I want to get back into playing live again any time soon? No, not really.

At this stage I’m quite happy just creating for creating sake however, I know that there will be a time when I will really miss the gigs and only then will that be the right time for me to get back into it.

Until that time arrives, getting creative and working on becoming the best person I can be for myself (and everybody else) is my number one priority.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

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Life… We’re All Just Making It Up As We Go Along

Buddhism, Life, Thoughts

You know, as I get on with the day to day business that is my life, I’m realising more and more that for most of the time we are all making up our lives as we go along which to a recovering control freak like myself, comes as a great relief.

Yes, that’s right, a recovering control freak.

Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I love to be in control, even though that I knew intellectually that the notion of control is but only an illusion.

Feeling in control has made me feel safe and secure with the world around me and the upside of this feeling is that I consider myself a very organised and punctual person.

The downside to always wanting to be in control is that I would almost always get highly stressed out when situations don’t go according to the pre-determined plan that I have in my own head.

I’d get so stressed it would at times paralyse me.

I really loathe this feeling of being out of control but I didn’t really know how I could rectify this, a pattern that has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.

The realisation that we’re all making our lives up as we go along eliminates the need for me to compare my life with the life of others around me and therefore disengage myself from this need to be in control all the time.

Yes, I know that some people have their lives together more than others and I also know that we’re all unique in our own abilities, our history and the way we look at the world around us, but deep down we all want the same things, such as love, respect, validation, acknowledgement, recognition and happiness

When I look at life in this way I realise deep down we are all in the same boat.

Right now I’m working on creating some sort of balance between my need to have everything in my life catalogued and in its place and at the same time, being totally spontaneous.

Quite a challenge when it think about it but not an impossible thing for me to achieve.

I reckon there’s a song in this…

Peace,

Corey 🙂

The Ultimate Reality Check – Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot”

Thoughts

This video showcases one of the most beautifully eloquent monologues I’ve ever heard, narrated by one of the most brilliant minds of our time, Carl Sagan.

I thought I’d put it up here as a reminder of what’s really important in this world we live in.

The only world we live in.

I can’t help but shed a little tear every time I see this because for me, this is the ultimate reality check.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

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How Music Has Shaped My Life (So Far…)

Music, Nostalgia, Thoughts

The Beginning

When I was five years old I asked Mum and Dad if I could have a piano in the house. We didn’t have any room for on nor was there enough money to buy one in the first place but that was okay with me… I still had my imagination to play with.

All through my primary school years I was writing stories and poems plus, making up songs to go with the poems and drawing pictures to go with the stories. Back then I was an unstoppable ball of creative energy.

It wasn’t until I reached high school though that my interest in music really came to the forefront. The school I went to had a very good music program which I was most keen about and it was there that I could really begin to immerse myself in all things musical.

My chosen instrument to learn was saxophone (it was a pretty cool instrument to play in 1983) however, they were all snapped up by other students so the next best thing to learn was apparently the clarinet, which I continued to play until I left high school in 1987.

Most of my recess and lunch times were spent hanging around the music room practising my clarinet and teaching myself piano. It was an environment in which I really felt I belonged to and through music theory lessons I was introduced to sheet music, manuscript paper, treble/bass clefs and a vast array of notes to play with.

Around about that same time, I wrote my first song after my best friend Andrew showed me an “A” chord on an old nylon stringed classical guitar which was given to me on my 13th birthday by my Dad, perhaps to compensate not providing me with a piano all those years ago and having the ability to teach myself guitar at home allowed me to take music home with me after the school day.

Add to that the thrill of writing a new song with each discovery of a new chord and my life was pretty much complete. All of my school friends were budding musicians, my whole life at that time seemed to be revolved around music, it couldn’t get any better than that.

When I left high school music became something that allowed me to escape the day to day pressures of living. Music made my growing up into a young adult a more tolerable experience.

I started up bands which seemed to endlessly rehearse but never played any gigs and at the same time picked up the bass because I could never find a bass player for these endlessly rehearsing bands.

Wherever I was working at the time I’d carry around a small notebook and pen and scrawl down song lyrics and songwriting ideas at every opportunity. I spent the rest of the time daydreaming what it would be like to play music professionally… That was my idea of Heaven on Earth and it was my goal to find it.

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Sydney

My first taste of being a professional musician came in 1994 when I joined a band that was on it’s way to Sydney. We went there in convoy with swirling romantic notions in our heads of making it big, bolstered by the fact that the biggest band agency in Sydney at the time had decided to put us on their books.

We decided that nothing would stop us. “We’ll play as a cover band to get some money coming in then we’ll start an originals band afterwards” we said to ourselves, “yeah sure, we’ll be able to do both.”

Wrong!

After being shunted around every corner of Sydney playing in every shitty dive you could ever imagine, the agency dropped us after a year on their books. We didn’t know this but at the time but we were “that band from Adelaide” that played the venues that no-one else wanted to play at.

With no real Plan B in place and poverty knocking at our door, the band split.

It was at that time I gave up playing music and tried to have a go at living in Sydney as a “normal person.” Four years later, and after some sort of nervous breakdown I came back to Adelaide in 1999 with my tail between my legs and the dark cloud of shame and failure hanging over my head.

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Back Home

Even in those really dark times, music never left my side. It would knock on my door but I just wouldn’t let it in. After a few months of not leaving the house (I was living with Mum and Dad at the time) I decided that I’d had enough of this wallowing and that not having music in my life was like living my life with an amputated limb.

The next time music knocked on my door, I opened it and embraced it with open arms and from that moment on my life became a process of rebuilding.

I was still working day jobs but I was also in bands that now had some drive and determination and were wanting to go somewhere. I started to find myself in situations that turned into great opportunities for advancing my music career.

In 2006 I had another opportunity to really make a go at playing music professionally. “Yes it’s a cover band” I said to myself, “but still, I’ll be doing nothing else.”

So, I ran with it and FIGJAM was born. We got our demos together, got out and about and networked like crazy, we played everywhere and for the first time in my life I felt that I was in control of my musical direction plus, I was making a living out of what I loved.

I was a self employed, professional musician.

Even though I was doing what I loved at the time, I still came across the same type of ungrateful, difficult, tight-fisted and clueless client/customer that you hear about but think “Nah, I’m a musician, that won’t happen to me.”

As the years went by and the novelty of being a professional (cover) musician wore thin, I started to realise that in my drive to make a living out of music by playing covers I was forgetting the real reason why I wanted to play music in the first place.

I was starting to burn out.

There were however, some bright lights during this time. I finished and released my debut CD “Seeing Stars” in 2012, I made the decision to start building a home recording studio so I can do all my future recordings in-house and I got married.

But all in all, it was decided that FIGJAM would wind up at the end of 2015 and in the vacuum left by that decision I had given myself some time to think. I realised that I had made pretty much the same mistakes that I made in Sydney all those years ago.

I realised that I didn’t have any balance in my life anymore and that trying to play covers to fund your own music is not as easy as you might think.

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Full Circle?

So where am I now? Well, I’m doing a lot more songwriting and recording plus collaborating with other songwriters and getting myself reacquainted with my blogging through this site as well as my other two blogs All About Songwriting and All About Music Business with more sites to be launched down the track.

Apart from the very occasional live gig here and there (if they land in my lap) I’m still taking a long break from performing and I’m happy with that at the moment. I’ll be back on stage when I start missing the gigs.

Have I come full circle? Well, I’m not sure but I’m looking at where I am and what I’m doing musically with a fresh pair of eyes and ears and that’s got to be a good thing.

What I will say though is that despite everything that has happened in my life so far, it’s comforting to know that music has never let me down, its always been there to pick me up, dust me off and be the means for me to get on with my life.

I would hate to think of who I am and where I would be if I didn’t have music in my life. It’s been there for me for as long as I remember and now, I just want to work on being true to myself and my chosen craft so I can create a way in which I can honour and repay the muse.

And repay her I will… In full.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

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Fab Feb/Mad March – Phew! Glad It’s Over

Adelaide Fringe, Geek, Rants, Thoughts

<rant>

Today is March 31st, the last day of the month and I’m telling you… I’ve had enough of Fab Feb and Mad March, that time in Adelaide where anything and everything remotely resembling a festival or an event gets bundled into one supposedly huge party that lasts for two months.

Now, I don’t want to appear to be some sort of wowser party-pooper type here but please… Adelaide has so much to offer its citizens (as well as the greater national and global population) but this city doesn’t do anyone any favours by cramming most of its events into a two month period.

There’s just too much competition for the disposable income of a finite population of punters who are suffering more and more from “festival fatigue” every year.

I mean it’s not like Adelaide has crap weather for the other ten months of the year especially as we keep on being told that we live in the driest state on the driest continent on Earth.

Surely we can put on a festival or two at other times of the year? Surely we can space things out a little bit more which in turn will give us performers (and the punters we rely on) a bit of a chance to catch our collective breaths?

Whether you agree with it or not, the article “Has The Adelaide Fringe Festival Become Too Big For It’s Boots?” featured in The Guardian which was inspired by a Facebook rant from British comedian Alexis Dubus (now taken down from Facebook) highlights the issue about the competitive nature of Mad March and the effect it has on performers and punters alike.

NB: I know the article is primarily focussed on the Adelaide Fringe Festival and Mad March is of course a combination of many events but the Adelaide Fringe does take up a lot of Mad March.

Please don’t get me wrong, as a songwriter/musician myself I love any opportunity Adelaide offers to showcase the wonderful talent that we have locally, nationally and globally but to cram everything into a two month time-frame and neglect the rest of the year doesn’t really make any sense to me.

What are your experiences as either a performer or as a punter? Are you suffering from “festival fatigue” or are you sad that Mad March had to eventually finish? I’m interested in your thoughts.

</rant>

Peace,

Corey 🙂

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Why Am I Doing This?

Music Business, Thoughts

I discovered early on in my career that, as a performing songwriter and musician it’s really, really important to have people to play in front of. Seems a simple enough realization to me.

Playing to an audience had always given me a sense of purpose with my music, which is an end result to all of the hours practicing, rehearsing, writing and honing my craft.

Of course performing in front of an attentive satisfies the ego too but I realized that just satisfying the ego was not enough. Performance is a two way street between performer and audience.

Without one, the other ceases to exist.

It dawned on me that for me to be a successful performer I needed to be successful at giving the audience a reason to care, to touch move and inspire them and then find a way to keep them all in one group and then give them what they want on a regular basis.

Hence this blog and this website. I’m using technology to reach out over the vast expanses of the internet to tap you on the shoulder and say “Hello!”

I want to build a community of people around me and my music and I’ll be doing that by being me, being open and honest and documenting everything that I can on my journey.

I’ll be putting up my music, my images, my videos, my thoughts, feelings and other interesting and useful things I find along the way. All because I want to reach out to you, my audience.

I know that might sound a tad arrogant but, I know that winning you over is not going to come easily. I have to prove my worth to you, prove that I’m worthy of your attention because your time is just as precious as mine and therefore I don’t want to waste it.

If I’m on stage I know where my audience is. When I’m writing for this site I don’t know where you are, it’s exciting and scary all at the same time but it’s worth pursuing. My audience, my community, my friends are out there. I’ve just got to find them.

It is my hope that through this website (and what I put in it) will give you a reason to give me a go, to care enough to tell your friends about what I do, to come to my shows and to allow me to be part of your life through my music.

It would be an honour and a privilege to do so.

As you can read, I take community building very seriously. It’s what the music industry is all about but I will touch on that in later posts.

Peace,

Corey 🙂

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