past tense

Well the calander year has changed. Quickly. I can see next year already, cause I got 2020 vision. Jokes. Last year was a mix of highs and lows, excitement and tedium, travel and recovery.

I think I learned a few things as well. Like how potatoes really are amazing in Ireland or how difficult it is to entertain a sports bar crowd as a solo artist. 

I learned that I can’t make it in the entertainment industry on my own (i.e. the value of collaboration and having a team). 

I learned that I’ll probably never have the energy or charisma to be a superstar. And that’s ok.

I learned that my music is worth more than the amount of times it gets downloaded or streamed.  

I learned that lofty dreams and realistic goals are not always the same thing.  

I’ve learned that to accept support and rely on my family and friends for help doesn’t mean I’m weak or a burden. It means I’m connected and invested. 

I’ve learned that staying true to yourself as a creative is the best way to go. 

I’ve learned to savor moments and connections with others, because those moments are the stuff that memories (and great songs) are made of.

 I’ve learned that art and hard work aren’t always appreciated, and that I have to be doing things I believe in otherwise I’ll just become a people pleaser. And nobody really wants that.

 Now I’m ready to learn some more as I continue my artist journey into 2019 and beyond~

Like it or Not

Social media is a powerful tool for us as musicians to stay connected to our fans and catch people up on our daily musical musings and happenings. But sometimes it feels like the social medium and aesthetic become more important than the art form that you’re trying to create.

I’ve found myself on more than one occasion taken out of the moment to post something or killing a creative vibe to capture a story, driven by some irrational fear that if I don’t post something I’ll lose my fan base or become irrelevant somehow. That’s why I think it’s good to step back sometimes and look at WHY we use social media as artists.

Here are some reasons I’ve come up with:

  • It’s free.

Real talk, most of us musicians and songwriters aren’t raking in the dough. Paying for promotion is not always an option that feels worth the investment, so having a place where we can essentially market ourselves for free is nice. The flip side of this is that since this is not just a space for musicians or artists (aside from maybe a fb group etc), it can come off as annoying or desperate if we are only using our social media accounts to promote ourselves and our music all the time.

  • It’s convenient.

Social media is nice because you can basically talk to as many friends/followers as you have all at one time. I can’t even imagine having the time or energy to connect with all 483 of my instagram followers on a regular basis in real life without the help of technology. It’s such a powerful thing to be able to do.

But also, I feel like having this easy access can make us forget how important it is to be able to connect on a human level with people. To shake someone’s hand, to see them smile when we get a word wrong at a show, to feel the energy and support in a room of listening people. There’s nothing like it, and no replacement for it. Not even a facebook live session (although those do in a pinch).

  • It’s a great tool.

But it’s also just that- a tool. I believe that putting all eggs in one basket (in this case social media) is not a great way to really grow as a business. And like it or not, that’s what we are are artists (at least those of us doing this for a living).

It’d be like if Target depended entirely on its youtube ads and facebook posts to advertise and get business. I guarantee that would cause their sales to drop significantly (Ok so maybe we aren’t all a large retail store chain, but you get the point). However, To me this idea of a multi-tiered approach applies to ANY business.

There are many ways to skin a cat (pardon the expression I just happen to be a dog person) and in the creative world it’s no different. Or at least it’s not a whole lot different. Besides using social media as a promotion/sharing tool, there’s also websites, irl interaction, and even sites like patreon and kickstarter that give fans a chance to give what and when they want in exchange for what you’re work (shameless plug I’m actually leaning towards starting up with Patreon so stay tuned…). Word of mouth will always be a mainstay, especially if you’re putting out great stuff (which it can also be hard to do if you’re on social media all day…yep, been guilty there).

The bottom line is that while social media is a nice tool, it can also be unproductive and distracting if that’s all you’re using to grow your creative business.

The In Between

Real talk: after a big show or a fun trip, I usually go through a severe “down”. I get home. Eat something. Calm down. Watch some youtube vidds. And sit there twitching, wondering what’s next. 

It’s like fireworks were going off, but now now the shows over and there’s nothing to see. So you go to grab a churro but they’re sold out and so you walk to your car and drive and there’s traffic and everybody’s honking their horn and trying to get home and then a pidgeon craps on you…I think I’ve taken the analogy too far, but you get the idea.

Life has a funny way of taking you up. Then leaving you high and dry with nothing to do. Busy times, then nothing. Chaotic beyond reason. Nothing. I think two of life’s big difficulties are learning to deal with the high times, and finding faith through the low times. 

For me, health problems exacerbate the low times. Depression tells me I’m a loser, that things aren’t good, that they’ll never be good again. I become a modicum of self-critique, analyzing every interaction and agonizing over everything I could’ve done better. Ahh the joys of being a nervous introvert. 

Fortunately I have friends and family that keep me from going to those downward spirals. My problems and insecurities always seem to shrink when I bounce them off the reality of others. Minds are good at over inflating things into mental balloons. I’ve got to periodically pop those suckers. 
The time in between can be a good chance to breathe, to plot and plan (world domination muahaha!). Without the lows there would be no highs. And vica verca. 

Summer Update

Hey it’s Higgs, coming in hot (literally this summer heat is like melting my Irish skin like crayons left on a stovetop 😂). 
Just wanted to share what’s new with me.

Things have been pretty crazy (in the best way). I’m just off the Hawaii Songwriters Festival, which is always a blast of inspiration and a great time reuniting with friends. This year was special in that my song No Plans ended up taking top honors in the songwriting competition.  

That song is coincidentally going to be my next single, out mid-August. The funny thing is it’s sort of a song about nothing- or rather about doing nothing. It’s my ode to enjoying the here and now. I once heard Jerry Seinfeld say how amazed he was that so many people would watch his sitcom, which he referred to as “a show about nothing”. That’s how I feel about No Plans. But somehow it works and I’m excited to be sharing it with you 🙂 Also look out for some special guests featured in the music video.
I’m currently hard at work (in my parent’s basement/my studio) hashing up the rest of the songs for my first full-length album. 

I’m also looking to do a little touring throughout the islands in the not-too-distant-future. If you know of any places to play (venues, coffeehouses, churches, rooftops, living rooms, caves, street corners etc) please let me know!

Peace and Love~

*Something clever*

The week is catching up with me, like that world record line that they show Olympic swimmers trying to beat. I don’t think I’m gonna break any world record this week. It feels like I’m narcoleptic this morning. BUT! I am awake, and I’m writing my thoughts about everything and nothing, so there’s that. 

I got my first real check for toplining a song yesterday. It was a hip hop track that I added some bars and a hook over and it ended up getting put in to Math Club Music’s catalog. It feels good to have a little breakthrough, a little boost of confidence that I hope will continue to build into a solid career as I put out more content and whatnot. Mostly whatnot. 

I was thinking this morning, how true it is that life is what you make it (cue the Joe Dirt scene). Sure, there are things that you can’t control, events and circumstance that dictate to some degree or another what you are able to do. But there are a TON of choices that we can make to shape our life. I choose to get out of bed in the morning (most times ;)) instead of sleeping all day. And choices like writing and practicing vs watching t.v., feeling sorry for myself vs getting to work. It’s a constant  cacophony  of  choices! 

It can all get overwhelming, but it’s all these little decisions that make (or break) us as humans and as creators. And over time, our good choices turn into habitual responses. I like this quote by Aristotle: 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

So many choices shape us, and even though there’s no guarantee we’ll get ’em all right (in fact guaranteed we won’t) I think if we are conscious about it we can make enough positive ones to shape ourselves into better, more loving, less emotionally detached, more successful people. Or you know, whatever you’re going for. But one thing at a time. I am making the choice to end post this now, before it gets any more semi motivational/cheesy. Here’s to doing! Creating! And choosing our choices wisely 🙂