The View from Here.
I started writing this entry whilst sat on a train with a peanut butter sandwich I’d just pulled out of my bag, wrapped in tin foil from home like a kid with a packed lunch. It made me laugh a little to myself and remember that when I actually was a kid, I’d imagined that at the point in my life I’m at now, I’d most definitely have a very successful music career and a very, very glamorous life. Meanwhile here I am with my packed lunch, counting the change in my purse and ignoring the voice in my head telling me I really should have checked my bank account before leaving London for the weekend. I mean, yes, my adolescent prediction of my future, fuelled mostly by episodes of MTV Cribs, Top of the Pops and reading Valley of the Dolls fifteen times, was probably always a little glamorised, but the truth is I think a lot of people, including myself and my peers, are still trying to make this creative life seem a lot easier than it is. So in the spirit of honesty and vulnerability I’m going to get real with what it really looks like when you’re “on the way up” ….
First off, my life is incredible. I think I say that a lot but I really never want to seem ungrateful. It’s certainly an adventure, and filling your life with the things you love, creatively or otherwise, is the most fulfilling, exciting thing ever, and I’d never put anyone off doing that. The things that I choose to share in general – the studio sessions with amazing people, the traveling around the world, the very occasional celebrity run in … it’s all real, but how any of it comes to pass is a whole other story. The truth is: this is hard. Half the time I have literally no idea how I'm making it work. I just keep doing it.
I work a lot of other jobs in music … and outside. There, I said it. The ultimate confessional. In my last post I said I always start off with “Hi, I’m Clare and I’m a songwriter.” … but until my walls start filling up with plaques and I need to invest in a cabinet for my multitude of awards, I still need to pay my rent somehow. I’m very, very fortunate to get to earn money doing things that I love – singing, teaching and working with and for people that I really believe in. But I can’t always rely on that, and there’s been periods, even relatively recently, where I’ve worked jobs that are so mind-numbingly boring and and make me feel like I’m literally a million miles away from anything resembling “successful.”
I’ve worked for such crap money before that I’m not even sure it’s worth the train fare to get there. I’ve worked jobs that I had to get up before sunrise for, only to stand in the freezing cold and be looked at like s**t by every person in a suit I've smiled politely at as I've tried to hand them a flyer. I’ve ran in to people from college and school who ask uncomfortably if I’m still “trying to do the music thing” whilst I’m very clearly in that moment not doing anything even slightly music related. I’ve done other people’s laundry and taken out their rubbish with not even so much as a thank you. So some days, the struggle really is REAL.
Surprisingly, none of this glamorous info would normally make it on to my social media pages. I used to think of these other jobs as things I should be embarrassed of - signs that I really wasn’t succeeding. But now, I’m proud of those things, that's why I think it's only right that I share a bit about them and acknowledge the parts of my life that help make the great stuff possible. I'm proud that I’ve been resilient enough to get up at 5am to go to a job I hate because I know I can see a bigger picture. Proud that I’m a young woman living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, prioritising her passion and STILL making it work somehow. Cringing as I say it, but I’m going to anyway: I’m proud to be a hustler! I have it easier than many, I know that, but trust me it ain’t always easy.
I’m going to follow this post up soon with a little more about why the songwriting thing in particular is hard, and share some of the leaps of faith I’ve taken/am taking, and why. For now though, I’m keeping on, with my eyes firmly on the prize. All this other stuff is certainly making for some great content for my future memoir.
So if you're reading this on the way to or from a job, or something else, that you really don't want to do, but you know you're on your way to bigger things, I hope you feel encouraged. No one's story is as simple as they'd like it to appear, but good things come to those who work their asses off.
Have a great week hustlers.