Sometimes, we are smacked in the face with a lesson acutely.
The way we learn about ourselves can take many forms.
We enter a situation or a conversation and have an ugly truth about ourselves rubbed in our faces.
Sometimes, an awareness ebbs and flows.
We are a deep awareness of it, we lose sight of it, and then it returns to our awareness.
Others, my favorites, reveal themselves in relief over time.
Like an overly intricate drawing that you can only interpret at an appropriate distance.
I’m experiencing the latter with my creative process.
I think of myself as someone who works quickly.
When I decide to do something, I do it.
Sometimes this is at my peril.
I have ended up halfway through MANY projects without realizing their enormity and leaving them behind in their semi-constructed state.
But when I look back at my best work, I’m starting to see a pattern.
- Establish a clear, or clearish, objective.
- Create a few guidelines.
- Let it marinate.
- Furiously execute.
That critical third step, I am learning, is where a lot of my creativity has been hiding for my whole life.
Last summer, Roger, my producer, said he had a vision for me.
He wanted me to try and make an album.
We have made singles. Many, many singles.
Self-contained pieces of art in which the narrative arc is the exact length of the song itself.
They were rarely, if ever, about building on a previous idea.
They’re like little sketches.
And, to be clear, this type of creation is super important. Honoring and valuing little sparks of creativity or genius that burst into being.
And then giving them the requisite shape to be put into the world.
But an album is more intricate.
What’s the soundscape? Is there one?
What’s the theme or the story?
Will it feature the work of other artists? How many? From where? Why would they want to be on the project?
How much will it cost?
How much will it ACTUALLY cost?
At first, I found the idea cumbersome and awkward. I didn’t even pick it up.
But by the fall, I was warming up to the idea.
We had the idea to make an album that would create a new Colorado sound – combining hip-hop and EDM. Hip-hop is in my blood, but it’s not super big in Denver.
EDM is MASSIVE out here. Shows every night of the week in venues sprawling all across the city.
Rather than ask them to come to us, why not go to them?
We started making the instrumentals.
We started to pick a name and a concept.
And then the idea, slowly, just sort of died off.
Things got busy, other ideas took precedence, and this album sat dormant in my subconscious for quite some time.
Until about a month ago.
A light bulb went off, and I realized the Colorado sound wasn’t the theme. It was the soundscape. The theme was the story of how I was evolving as an artist.
And ideas FLOODED. I have more scribbles and notes and half-assed questions written on post-its and journals than I could count.
We started recording on Thursday. More than half of the album is recorded, and we hope to finish recording the entire thing a week from today.
If I had simply jumped into the fray, I would have likely abandoned the idea. Or produced something half-hearted because it would have only been half-conceived.
This feels like creating from a place of deeper knowing rather than a place of ideation.
My Dad has long extolled that there are many great ideas in the world. But your execution is what will ultimately set you apart.
The album still needs to be finished. Even after it’s recorded, there is a litany, nay, several litanies of administrative and further creative tasks to help bring this album to light.
I know well enough not to hinder the creative process with its administrative burden.
Create in freedom. Execute in structure.
Yin and yang.
Push and pull.
If you are struggling with your task or a creative process, I encourage you to change the process, not the task itself.
You may need to let it marinate.
Or, you just need to be more ecstatic in your approach.
There is no wrong answer.
Only the sweet feeling of your self-awareness revealing itself to you.
Just like an intricate drawing.
It was there the whole time.
You just couldn’t see it.
From My Heart To Yours,