Somewhere around this time last year I decided my life needed major revamping, in a multitude of ways. I spend a few months over the fall and winter hibernating, reflecting and deciding.
Because I'm my own worst critic, instead of making distinct plans to fully pursue what I really truly deep down love to do - SING! and create music - I applied to Graduate school in Winnipeg, Manitoba - the Master of Public Health Program at Uof M. Grad school is something I knew I could be successful at and had concrete outcomes - an easier, less tough on my ego path than an uncertain future in music.
I've worked in a nursing capacity full time for the AHS for at least 10 years now, and music has evolved slowly but surely for me as a "secondary" vocation. I have loved every musical moment, even the ones where I'm telling myself I suck and should quit (those are learning moments, as I've come to appreciate!). I have had phenomenal support and encouragment, and i keep connecting to musicians who fascinate and inspire me - and I have to pinch myself sometimes to believe the kinds of opportunities and musical people who keep entering my life.
Even despite all the natural ways my music career is unfolding, I decided when I got accepted to grad school in April 2012 that I was going to make the move and do that. I have beautiful friends and family Calgary, wonderful musical connections and it's my hometown - but it was time to have some distance and change. I've got roots in Winnipeg, family and a bunch of great musical friends as well. It made sense in those ways to spend sometime in Manitoba.
For some reason in Spring 2012 my confidence as a musician was really low. I sent a friend a text message at one point saying I was just going to focus on school and my health care career and give up on music. A week after I sent that text, I got a call from RAWLCO radio, saying they were awarding me a 10K recording grant towards my new record. (My friends response to this news was : "Too bad you're quitting music").
Immediately I called my great friend and producer of my 2nd record, Steve Loree, to tell him we had a 3rd record to make by June of 2013. Steve said he wanted to get it done this summer...I said that was near impossible given my impending move to Winnipeg, my full time job, the renting of my house, the fact that I didnt yet have a full album written and didn't have a band to record with.... etc etc etc. Steve knew that if we didnt get it mostly done before I left, we wouldn't do it. I decided he was likely right, and figured I would just find the time to fit it in.
Two days after that, Steve ran into Ryan Weber of the Weber Brothers in Nanton, Alberta. Steve and the Webers had worked together before in Steves studio, and Ryan said they had a week or so of downtime coming up in July 2012 - did Steve have anything they could be a part of that summer? If anyone has heard the Webers you know that it's a phenomenal opportunity to get to work with such amazing musicians! (even though initially my inner self depricating monster was freaked at the thought of sharing my brand new not-yet-sung-in-front-of-other-humans songs).
This past year I've also been so fortunate to have made musical and true friendship connections with John Wort Hannam and Lana Floen (The Traveling Mabels). John asked me to sing on his new record ("Brambles and Thorns" - out this week!) and Lana wanted to write together before I left. I asked John to sing on my record as well, and Lana and I wrote a song together called "Always Be mine" - on which the whole Mabels trio came and sang harmonies!! We also asked Scott Duncan, Shelly Groves and Charlie Hase to add musical accompaniment to a few songs.
The time I spent in Steve's studio this summer was some of the most inspiring, fulfilling time I've had in a long time. The support and enthusiasm, professionalism of all the muscians was so encouraging and just basically - FUN! We're working on the final touches of the album - we have one song left to record (written by Ryan Weber) and I've collected a few great local Winnipeg musicians to help me out with that (so far Blake Thomson of the F Holes, Sol James and Jess Rae Ayre of Sweet Alibi). We are anticipating a Spring 2013 release, trying to come up with an album title and planning a bit of a CD release event for May 2013 as well!!
Leading up to my move, i did alot of personal work and reflection on better trusting my intuition, following my heart, meditation and just generally how to lead a happier life for me. Lo and Behold, turns out there were alot of road blocks and signs about Grad School, all leading to my decision to actually not attend Grad School at this time. Had I not taken time for personal reflection, Im not sure I would have been aware that school is not the right fit for me at the moment. (The funny thing is - this is the second time in my life that music has trumped my attempts at going to grad school...I like to think that the universe is telling me something :)
So - I left my 1450sq ft condo in downtown Calgary at the end of the summer and I am writing to you now from my my 550sq ft loft in Wolseley in Winnipeg. I have been unemployed for a month and I am in love with having this time to feel centered, to get settled, to make more informed decisions about where I invest my energy, my time, my heart.
I dont know what my work/music balance will look like from here, but i am learning to follow my heart, trust my instincts - you can't make bad life decisions if they genuinely come from your heart, from what you know to be true about yourself. I trust that things will evolve as they are meant to if I am living consciously, honestly and fully aware.