I love making music, but I absolutely hate having to be on stage to perform music.
I was 13 years old the first time I ever performed music in public - playing piano to accompany a school choir performance of 'God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen' - and it was TERRIBLE. I practiced for months, and I thought I was ready, but on the day of the performance, the kids got up on stage and sang TOO FAST!
I couldn't keep up with them, and had to stop while they plowed on without accompaniment. I waited for the second verse so I could try once more, and - again - it was still too fast. I messed up again. I decided not to try again and just sat on the piano bench until they finished the song. A couple of kids in the audience next to me giggled and pointed at me. Longest 7 minutes of my life.
Sometimes I theorize that this incident was the genesis of my super-intense stage fright related to anything musical. While I was a member of Just A Band, I'd spend weeks dreading every upcoming performance, I'd have sleepless nights in the days running up to every show, and I'd be nauseous and anxious when the day came. I never got used to it.
The rest of the band were OK with being up there, and after seeing me suffer so much they kindly allowed me not to come on stage for the performances. I opted out 90% of the time. I started attending Just A Band shows as an audience member. Awkward, I know.
This was one of the reasons I eventually left the band. I figured maybe my stage fright was the Universe telling me to focus on the visual projects. So I gave up on music. I gave away my guitar. I uninstalled all my music software. I threw away my little book of lyrics.
Since then, I have discovered that I am completely OK going up on stage to do anything else; question-and-answer sessions about a film? No problem. Panel discussion? Bring it on. Presentation about the NEST? No anxiety at all. Weird, no?
There's only one problem. The music didn't stop playing in my head. I still wake up with snippets of song in my head. I still really enjoy making music. Some of the tunes I've made since have ended up in the soundtracks to films I've made, and I've given some away to very cool musicians I love - then there's a couple that remain on my hard disk, taunting me.
So I think, "making music and putting it out aren't necessarily the same thing, right? I can just make music for fun and the songs never need to go out. There are enough musicians out there with WAY more talent and WAY better songs in this world and no one cares about some guy in Nairobi with a bunch of songs."
Every now and then I meet people who actually listened to the secret EP I put out in 2013 as Adeiyu, or the film soundtracks, or this happens, and it's SO COOL, and it makes me feel like maybe there's a point to all this, and maybe there's space in the world for some guy in Nairobi with a bunch of songs.
I don't know.
So, here goes. I'll just close my eyes, start from scratch and put out a couple of songs over the next few months, though I don't think this means I'll be jumping on stage any time soon. Over the next couple of months, I'll be sending my secret club of awesome newsletter subscribers preview tracks in advance, just to get some feedback. Want in? Sign up here. If there's anyone out there who likes the songs, that'd be really cool. If not, then at least I'll have a little more free space on my computer, right?
Thanks for listening! :)