Enjoyed watching the British Indie Film featuring Luke Perry (90210/Riverdale) and British actor, Nicholas Galitzine.
The film reminds us to keep writing and that there will always be an audience for the music that we write.
The Beat Beneath My Feet (2016, U.S)
A desperate and passionate teen for music meets a former rock legend. With a bit of blackmailing, convinces the former rockstar to teach him music.
Recently, during my short stay in Chicago, I’ve been dipping my feet in the pool of music again, searching for nuggets of wisdom for inspiration and to keep going. I think as writers, musicians and producers, we can all relate when I say, the journey with music can sometimes feel lonely-okay, to be real honest, it can oftentimes feel very lonely. It feels lonely when there aren’t any likeminded musicians and writers in your immediate surrounding, and if there are, the goals and visions either clash or just don’t align. There are so many things to consider-lyrically, to musicality, production, direction, and the ‘vibe and chemistry,’ you may have in collaboration. At least that’s been my journey with music.
Two things have stood out to me through the books and films that I’ve been reading and watching, and I hope it’ll challenge and encourage you to keep exploring your passions and writing.
1) Am I listening?
In the book, The Crowd, The Critic, And The Muse, Michael Gungor shares about a music lesson in university that changed the way he played music. During a first lesson, the instructor asked Gungor to play the G major scale, in which he quickly and confidently shredded. Each time Gungor played the scale for him, it was met with disappointment by the instructor, where he’d then ask Gungor to try again.
Confused, I spewed out another G-major scale. It was fast and sloppy, but I just wanted to move on to something else. I knew my G-major scale…I knew my G-major scale when I was twelve-years-old. This was college. I wanted to talk about melodic minor modes or alternate tunings or something more interesting than a G-major scale.
“Okay, that’s getting closer, Michael, you need to remember – this is music we are playing. Not scales.”
As a millennial generation, we have forgotten how to stop and listen. We have shorter attention spans and it’s harder for us to sit through an entire song without skipping to the next. What was once an artistic expression from a place of depth and creativity is now easily produced by imitating trends and adding to the noise. Have we forgotten how to listen?
As a writer, musician or producer, are we ordering creation from a place of additional noise or have we developed the skill to listen and create from a place of feeling and depth to connect? Which one are you? Neither are wrong, both require skill and it depends on the direction you want to take.
2) Find my color.
This brings me to my second golden nugget of wisdom and reminder.
“Don’t play anything you don’t feel.”
(Luke Perry’s line from the film)
How many times have we recreated, wrote and played to fit in to be heard? How often have we created from a place of mindlessness, created for the sake of creating, detached from the notes, tones and the lyrics?
It’s been a fight, a confusing one of swaying one way to the next and in circles trying to ‘find my color.’ A big part of that comes with my desire to writing for all genres (pop, rock, edm, folk, rock, hip hop, CCM, etc). I can’t pick one. And I’m realizing that that is okay. That’s my personal strength and advantage-a multi-layered canvas of different sounds and tones to express of my preferred palette and color of the mood, time and day. I still want to find my color, my own color and tone where I’m not producing for the sake of making music and jumping on the bandwagon of everyone else’s noise…but my own production and style where I’m creating from a place of freedom and joy.
And so all this builds up to me wanting to share with you some words of encouragement where the journey feels lonely:
Don’t stop. Fight to stay connected to what makes you feel alive. How are you feeding your drive for music? Where are you turning for inspiration and wisdom? Who are you reaching out to for mentorship and support? At the end of the day, no one can write your music for you. Fear and rejection will always knock on your door. The voices of resistance and failure may echo in your ears, but as you brave out each day to do what you love and recognize your gift as something special and chosen by God, those voices will soon fade. Remember who you are, and think about how you want your listeners to remember your music by.
What you meditate on feeds inspiration and is the fruit of your art and creative work. Will your music be driven by heartbreaks and loss, hope or hopelessness, conquering or defeat, or music that brings joy or sadness? There’s a time and season for everything. You have the permission to express.
Find your color, create.
Available for your viewing pleasure free on Netflix (U.S location).