The Home Stretch

With the release show looming, the album is in the home stretch. Although there are still things to do, and only one recording session in which to do them, I feel confident that we still have the time to polish everything up to my standards (which can be brutal—just ask my bandmates). Overall, the album is of good quality, with a wide variety of tunes. It’s going to be a short record, barely clocking in above 30 minutes, but hopefully the quality of the songs make up for that. Either way, putting this album together has been one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling things I’ve ever done, but it’s also been an enormous challenge.

One thing I did not anticipate when I first decided to record an album was the level of stress that would follow. It wasn’t that bad at first, but once the release date was official it was taken to another level. Because of the deadline, the stress was always there hovering above me like a dark cloud. Dramatic though it sounds, I am the sole songwriter, singer, pianist, producer, funder, organizer, and soon to be promoter of this album, and I’m learning the latter four tasks as I go. In addition to the recording sessions themselves there have been rehearsals and gigs, which take a significant level of effort by themselves. Add in the fact that all of this is happening around my 9 – 5, and there are times where the stress can be very powerful.

If you ask my friends, they’ll probably tell you I’ve been a little off lately. I’ve had a difficult time focusing on conversations that aren’t about my project. I’ve had an especially difficult time dealing with acquaintances and strangers, because I feel like I don’t have time to be polite and talk small. The problem is that in the music business, particularly at shows, you’re dealing with strangers all the time, and you can’t afford to piss them off. You need them to fill the seats at your next gig. Yet, the biggest impact of the stress isn’t my lower tolerance for dealing with people, but my stifled creativity. I haven’t been able to write songs, I haven’t been able to come up with new music—it’s like my creativity has been whisked away by the chaotic winds of my life. Soon I will be able to go back to simply performing, with my free time spent plunking away on the keyboard writing tunes about whatever new problems I encounter in my life. Then, once the album turns six months or a year or five years old, I will look back on these times and savor not the worst moments, but the best: playing and singing in the studio for my debut album.

You only get one of those, so hopefully it’ll be a good one.


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