Finished my first album…what next?
A few weeks ago I reached a critical milestone as an “Artist”. I released 30+ minutes of original music in the form of a ten track album called Follow the River Bend. I believe that I somehow managed to create something raw, acoustic, authentic, and worth listening to in its entirety. Despite its imperfections, I think the album stands quite well on its own two feet as a first effort. As I breathe a sigh of relief — that I actually went through with it, and added my own songwriting and tunes to the modern continuum of music — the inevitable question is…what next?
I immediately found myself craving the goal of making new music (and as a result I picked up a mandolin and ukelele so that I can have different tools to use to write more songs!). Of course, I don’t want to abandon the baby I’ve put out on the street, so in addition to writing new music, I am wanting to promote Follow the River Bend to the world in every way possible. I’m also taking a class on performance called Open stage 101 at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago to help me better able to perform my music live. I’ve played out before, but this gives me a chance to learn from true masters in Chicago and take that experience out with me “on the road”!
So after releasing the album, I’m not sitting down and listening to my album every moment just to experience a great sense of accomplishment. Rather, it is better to say that I’m feeling like I have just started to climb a very tall mountain.
When I started this musical journey in earnest, I had no ambitions for my work. I just loved the process of writing and wanted to eagerly learn how to record and ultimately learn how to get something I made out into the world for people to easily get on the Internet. I put a little bit of my soul and spirit into each song, and I have no problems saying that this music is part of how I communicate with the world. But the journey, and process of writing, performing, promoting, recording, is such a challenge and the process of doing it brings such fulfillment, that I realize that the mountain I am climbing doesn’t really have a top. It has nothing to do with success. Success is inherently committing and doing it each and every day in some small way.
So the question, “What’s next?”, can be partially answered by the fact that I can remove the quotes around the word Artist when I refer to myself. That feels great.