Vox Artis: Recording the years, dispelling our fears

Degree Me
'Degree Me'

I have been at this album far. too. long.

The earliest song in the main track listing was written in 2006. What on earth have I been doing for the past six years??

Well, I was studying a degree. Then I graduated and attempted to start working full-time (oh, economy. You so crazy!). Then I got married, moved house and settled into a new life in Shropshire.

I guess I have some good excuses, but none of them are really good enough to explain why I would delay completion for quite so long.

The truth is I just didn’t believe until recently I could do it. I’ve said every year for the past 3 years, “I’ll finish Vox Artis this year…” and then failed to deliver. Why would I suddenly gain the ability to finish when my track record (hah, puns…) has been so bad?

I’ve battled through some terrible confidence issues in the years since finishing my degree. I say ‘through’ but I’m still in the middle of that struggle, and I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever be completely free of. However, in recent weeks I’ve found it hasn’t been quite so debilitating. I’ve finished two initial mixes just this weekend. I think I know what’s helping to break my spell, though.

It’s you guys!

This time 6 years ago I had no community to speak of for my music. I may have been in the middle of a class of 30 people that all wrote their own stuff, but I stayed rather quiet about my non-degree work. I did share my songs with my peers at first, even managed to shift a couple of copies of ‘Demo Album‘ (hah!), but the more I studied my degree the more I saw how lacking I was as a musician and the less I wanted to share.

For example, I had been playing acoustic guitar for five years at that point and I could barely keep to a finger picking pattern without messing up every few notes. I had another friend, this one to be precise, who had been playing electric guitar for five years and was banging out Steve Vai tunes like they were nothing.

This lack of confidence in my ability emptied me of the youthful, wide-eyed excitement I’d had when I first started recording. I began second-guessing myself so much I ended up not really starting and certainly not finishing. I came up with a few experimental doodles just to satiate my curiosity, but I began to deny my songwriter self. I stopped talking about my songs with people because I figured they didn’t really care, or they were just being nice if they said they liked them.

Even when I started uploading songs to CarylCake, I didn’t fully believe in what I was doing. That’s why I was so susceptible to the myriad troll attacks I have since endured. Of course, I got my own back somewhat with this video

Somehow though, right now, I seem to have clawed back some kind of sanity. There are people out there that want me to succeed, so why the heck shouldn’t I go ahead and do it?

This album will be a record of those years spent in doubt and struggle, a testament to overcoming the opposition within one’s own mentality.

Surely these are our most powerful adversaries: the enemies in our heads.

P.S. Happy Valentines Day! ❤

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