However, ours is a fickle craft, distorted by things like celebrity, sex, homogenisation, saturation and some weird, messed up correlation between supply and demand. Working as a DIY / independent artist is not conventional, and even though we have the "bonus" of often getting to do what we love, it's not easy.
SO MANY talented people I know work minimum wage jobs to pay their bills, then spend whatever few hours they have left in a day ACTUALLY using their strongest skill set to perform their craft, so as not to lose their minds, or their souls.
Meanwhile, mainstream media spoon-feeds us the same songs from the same musicians, over and over, while those people and their entourage get crazy rich and stoopid famous, and people like me tie themselves in knots, lying awake at night feeling bad about asking their friends, family and fans for support.
MASSIVE DISCLAIMER: I've not got beef with pop artists, by the way. Or the surrounding industries that keep that culture afloat. It's played a massive part in my life and my career, and I value so many things about it. Mainstream pop-culture is actually super important because it gives us common things to relate to each other with, milestones upon which to connect, and a united feeling of all sharing similar experiences together on some level. Just maybe we can work together to make that mainstream culture a little more diverse...
I'm not trying to get rich. I'll probably be in debt forever, and I'll likely never own a house. These are the kind of realities one accepts when they choose this incredible yet erratic, rewarding yet terrifying path. (By the same token, I've recently been confronted by actual poverty, and am incredibly grateful on the daily, for even having regular access to clean water.)
I've been working the hardest I've ever worked over the last 4 months, and I haven't earned a single penny. The Kickstarter forged INDHE into the world in a blaze of glory, covering a lot of my initial travel, production and equipment costs. But she is growing, and I don't want to sell her to a corporate sponsor or charge people to be a part of the community. That's not what it's about.
INDHE is a way for independent people to easily reach out and find one another, to work together, create more opportunities, branch out and explore and share their talents with other people in other parts of the world, and find a way to make their own living from their actual craft. It's a way to keep creating opportunities for people to use their passions, inspire positive experiences and enrich the lives of others.
It's a way to hopefully open up a little more of the human potential in the world, which maybe, just MAYBE could flow into the wider consciousness of us all, and equip us to tackle some of the big picture problems that we are all facing: Poverty. Inequality. Climate Change. Exploitation. Mental Health. Physical Health. Waste. Greed. Prejudice. Hate... HUGE human challenges that are going to require creative solutions.
I saw this quote from Picasso yesterday. It felt apt:
"All children are artists.
The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
As a *grown up* (ew) I often find myself having to justify or excuse my choice to keep trying to be an artist.
Like it's ok for someone on X-Factor to say: "I have all these dreams, please exploit me and make me famous", but it's not so ok for me to say:
"I know a lot of talented creative people who should be able to spend more of their time making music, and less of their time making coffee. Please consider buying one of their albums, or going to one of their shows instead. You'll actually love it, it will probably speak to you on a far deeper level AND that £5 is going to literally buy groceries to put food on that person's table."
You know full well when you see a talented musician or artist do their thing. It's that shiver-down-your spine stuff. You feel part of something bigger than yourself. That person, or that band might not be on the cover of a magazine, or have millions of followers on Facebook, but you can tell that drummer has spent thousands of hours practicing, working, sweating, living and breathing those rhythms. Or that that painting required months of patience, tears, angry bank letters about overdrafts, and way too much reliance on packets of 2 minute noodles.
With INDHE, I want to try and help more talented people have access to a slice of *the* pie. Those resources. That income source. Those audiences. And for now, (LUCKY FOR YOU!) you guys are my audience. You are my pie. In the most meaningful and humble way. We are a small and humble, but deliciously well-crafted pie, made with love, patience and kindness.
And so, I present to you, my Patreon. If it's your thing, take a look. If not, that's totally ok too. I couldn't be more grateful to have you all and the fact that you're here at all means more to me than I will ever, EVER be able to explain to you.
I will try not to post about the Patreon too much. The beauty of it is that it kind of looks after itself, once it gets started. And I'm hyper aware of not asking you guys for your support too often. But hopefully you're here because you like what I do, and you believe in my ability to do more.
[NB: As with everything, the Patreon is a work in progress. Please give me your thoughts, your feedback, your advice and your ideas. I'm also taking the BIG Creator Pledge (which you can read about more on the page), which is all about championing the idea of a Universal Basic Income.]
YOU are my pie. YOU are my family. YOU are my best friends.
Thank you, for everything. And I love you.
Now let's make some magic!
PS: That got WAY longer than anticipated. Please don't get cross with me. I'm a human. I'm not perfect. And sometimes it's important to say things, even if not everyone is going to necessarily agree with them. AMIRITE?!
PPS: More music is coming at you, real soon. I promise! = )