Productivity Without Pressure

Hey there Marshall Street Family, how’s it going? I hope you’re all well. It’s looking like the Coronavirus end is finally near, I can almost feel the warmth on my face from the light at the end of the tunnel. It feels, somehow, as if we’ve been living this way forever, but at the same time like the lockdown laws only started last week. It’s such a crazy phenomenon that we couldn’t have anticipated.

While I’m excited to get back out there, start going to gigs again, and maybe FINALLY have my Superfamous Launch Party™, I’m also feeling kind of anxious about what life will look like on the other side, and how my music career will stack up. I’m sure you guys have had similar thoughts at some point or another during this time. 

One thing is for sure; there’s going to be a big boom of new music released. Our Spotify, IG Feeds, and TikTok accounts will be overwhelmed with new content to consume. A lot of artists who have been productive during this time will start reaping the rewards of that productivity when restrictions are rolled back. This might make you feel discouraged, especially when supporting your peers with their releases (which you should definitely still do!). During quarantine, I have felt like the expectation on me as an artist was to be productive, create content, write songs, grow my following, and the list goes on. But some days I just wanted to lay in bed and binge Netflix. All of the pressure to be productive, made me do just the opposite. Even the good old Marshall Street blog took a hit – I didn’t have anything to write about since all the gigs I was going to review got cancelled. 

During lockdown I have written a couple of new songs, and I’ve been re-teaching myself to read sheet music on piano. But in terms of my music as a business, I haven’t found the motivation. I’ve been slack and only now am I realising that that’s okay. After promoting my EP as much as I could, and having to reschedule the launch gig (which would have given it a massive push) I couldn’t be bothered emailing community radio station after station, blog after blog, playlist curator after playlist curator, for extra features. And this did get me down. I felt guilty that I wasn’t trying hard enough, wasn’t doing enough, especially when everyone around me seemed to be doing so much. But we need to remember to take care of ourselves, mentally and physically, before trying to give a part of us to the world.

I know I’m not the only person feeling this way, and that’s why this week I wanted to come here and express that these feelings are totally normal, and valid. I’m through the thick of it now, and I have been doing a little bit more each day to start thinking about what my next releases will look like. I’m finding my motivation again and getting excited about the future! A future that we couldn’t even envision 10 weeks ago.

I want everyone reading this to take the pressure off themselves and start doing what your gut tells you to do. As creatives and musicians, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others and (in my case, and maybe yours too) feeling like we’re not good enough. This is not true! Once we take the pressure off ourselves, we’ll find that we will naturally fall back into our creative patterns. And lyrics/ riffs/ guitar solos will start coming to us as naturally as they always have. I believe that creativity fears pressure, and like that old saying goes, Love Creativity is like a fart. If you have to force it, it’s probably shit”. And no, I am not sorry for bringing toilet humour into this blog post. This is what it has come to.

I hope this post has left you a bit happier and more reassured than you might have been when you stumbled across it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, as always I love to hear how you guys are going, and I want to support you in any way I can. We should all be rallying around each other as we re-assimilate into everyday life.

In the spirit of artists supporting artists, I want to give a quick shout out to Nick Mason, my good friend and producer of Superfamous, also the frontman of Melbourne prog-metal band Centralia. Their debut single, Waves premiered on JJJ last night on Short.Fast.Loud and I am so damn proud of them. Go give Waves a listen when you can – that’s my music pick of the week! (I’m gonna start doing these regularly I think).

Until next time,

Al

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