when you can't stop scratching ....
That up there is a copy of the album cover I cooked up for my EP, These Roots. My second release, on the heels of another 5-song EP that went out into the digisphere late last year. The trouble with song-writing, and singing? When you are really FEELING it, is that as impossible to stop as satisfying that itch with the glorious scratch.
My 10-year old son, has really dry skin ... actually, he may have some allergies, but that's for us to discover still (not the point of the analogy). He has these chronic episodes where he'll literally dig his nails into his skin with a scratch you can hear across the room. Asking him to moisturize is as futile as begging him to just not scratch. The itch is so seductive, and the relief of the scratch is sublime ... until he stops. Then, the intensity of the itch is heightened, only increasing the amount of relief/pleasure he gets from scratching yet more ... the scratching feeds the itch, and the itch feeds the scratch.
Songwriting is like that for me. While I don't have the physical leftovers of raw skin from the aggressive scratch my son lives with on several parts of his body, my songwriting "muscles" and identity are forever itching to move onto the next project, and discover a new corner of potential/growth.
While my sensibilities, songwriting, and vocals, mature measurably with time and each project, it's eerie to have these huge efforts become finished and (while I listen them with great pride often) I'm more focussed on the next incredible thing than I am in resting on the success of my accomplishments. Truth is, I'll do this for free for as long as I'm able to fund it. The songwriting ideas flow from me super easily, the craft of taking those sensibilities and making them "pop" and then delivering them with a compelling vocal is my itch. The scratch I have is the process of taking my ideas and committing them to a commercially viable product, and selling it. The bravery it takes to publish music (for me, at least) is monumentally energizing.
My growth (in addition to exploring a more engaged mix and head-voice) lies squarely in the selection of the right team of musicians/producers who can hear something in me I'm trying to express, then get tracks and vocal production that pulls it out of me, so my songs meet the vision I had when I wrote them. Two EP's, two producers, and a good number of awesome musician's later, I'm still searching for that partner or team that recognizes my strengths and the seed of "special" in me that's worth growing.
There's definitely something here nobody's heard before, and I'm going to keep
drilling into my songwriting, my vocal abilities, and my relationships so that I can develop the working model that elicits the best of me and the team in an Alchemy that's authentically it's own. It's here for grabbing.
The only difference between my itch and my son's, is that I feel a profound sense of accomplishment just exercising my music muscles and working with other people. This scratching (never-ending work in music) gets me deeper into my "sound" and clarifies what I have to say as an artist. Every year, it's more settled and grounded, and all I can hope for is that each effort shows the growth that happened, and which is felt, from the development between my first and second records.
I don't even wish I could stop wanting to scratch. I'm pulled to my studio when I am dead-tired and have nothing left. I'm amazed at what comes out of me sometimes ... not all gold, but all golden and holding the path to growth, which is the only reason I'm in this game.