Why Lindsay Ferguson needed to step away from music for a while
About a year ago, I called a psychic. Not a psychic who advertises, but rather a man who spends his time with his dogs in St. John’s, Newfoundland. A man, mostly unknown for his intense abilities, except to a rare few, and I was lucky to meet him, even if our encounter only lasted forty five minutes. Some of you started shaking your heads at the word psychic, I too am mostly a skeptic but the stuff he came out with! There was just no way he could have known the things he did. Something he said, (after he proved himself) was that I spend an awful lot of time smiling on the outside, when I am doing exactly the opposite on the inside. A lot of us probably do this, but this rang true to me. It seems like I am always wanting to be at the next place, doing the next thing while I am actually doing something I was (at one time) excited for. I find this strange!! So these days, I really am trying to live more in the moment, and do more of what I really want to do. Sometimes though, you have to go through stuff you do not want to do in order to find the right way, to get back on the right path.
I had to take a step back from music this past winter. It was not a very large step to be sure, but it was the first time in my life since I started making music in my 20s that I had such a notion to change focus. Believe me, as an artist with many faces, I have other things that keep me artistically busy. I like to paint, craft jewellery, write, and create healing salves, oils and teas from the plants and flowers on our land. There are other ways that I can express myself, and I started diving into those more. We watched a movie called Maudie, and since seeing that, I have been painting our kitchen, colours and shapes and more, stroke by stroke (our kitchen is very small, so this is relatively easy!)
Because I took a step back, I was able to really look at my life as a musician, my life as a singer, my life as a songwriter, touring troubadour, booker, manager, guitarist, and so much more, ME as a performing artist from a bit more of an outside perspective (or so I thought). Ultimately I was forced to ask myself, “Why? Why do it at all?”
You see, a strange reality came into view. I was forgetting the wise words of Keith Urban (yes, I was given a small window of time with him to ask him some questions once upon a time). Keith said that we must always remember we have our very own path to travel, to stay true to it and not try to get on someone else’s – that our path matters just as much as the next person’s (or something like that). In February, I was in the throws of a HUGE music festival called Folk Alliance International, where thousands of people in the music industry come together searching each other out over the course of five days in a hotel with five or six floors where every room was dedicated to live music, workshops, or panels, talks, etc etc. A whirlwind of sights and sounds (see my last blog about it, I found some EXCEPTIONAL new talent to add to my roster of sound.) It was all extremely exciting, but it left me feeling like I wasn’t good enough (I am good enough. I have been working at my musical craft for over fifteen years, and when you work at something that long, you simply get better. It is what it is, ego aside). But I am not good enough within some of the aspects of what I do … I do not have a team. I never check my plays. I don’t know much about what is happening on my Itunes or Spotify. I just get my music up and out but do not really know what to do after that. (Yes, I have a Spotify channel as well as a Bandcamp platform and a Soundcloud, a Website, two Facebooks, a Twitter and an Instagram – PLUS I like creating music and learning more about my guitar and what IT can do. There are just so many things we must take care of in the industry that have nothing to do with music. So far, I have few connections with the right folks who can help me get my music played/heard anywhere aside from a few radio stations (how amazing it would be to get a song of mine on a show I love). I cannot tell you how many people have come up to me after a show with a “Why haven’t I heard of you yet?”
I thought that by attending Folk Alliance I might make some contacts and learn a few (more) things. Instead it made me focus on what I did not know, what I did not have, what everyone else’s path looked like. I stayed in this perpetual place of “What is it all for?” for quite some time. After what was supposed to be a life-changing event, for the better, it took a while to see it for what it really was … a life-changing event for the better! Some of you may be reading this, and you might be thinking, “Well, you simply cannot have expectations.” But when you spend countless hours honing your craft, and countless dollars trying to get it out there, there simply IS a seed (or three) of hope planted within every musical endeavour that I am a part of.
So, I was down and questioning it all. I did not even look at my guitar, but still, out on my hikes in the forest, I was writing lyrics and still, every morning, I awoke with a song in my head. The universe was giving me signs that I really had no choice, that music is and will be flowing through my blood, and I simply can not (snaps fingers) stop it. I might press pause on the outside world of the music industry, but the inside world is full of song, colour and creative ideas. Once I put my ego aside, there was no more question; one cannot silence the soul’s call, and for this I am eternally grateful.
I will continue to plug away, finding my own way into the hearts of you through the one I wear on my sleeve. Ultimately, this pause gave me new insight, that the music is also for me, not just for you, and I am delighted to have such a gift and happy to have learned that it is NOT a need to share, but rather, a want. The connection we have while I am in full swing of song, and you are in full swing of the feel and sounds – that is what it is all about. Also, absolutely nothing beats the feeling of putting the finishing touches on a new song (I JUST finished writing one yesterday!!!) So, I continue to sing, and all I can ask is that you will continue to feel those vibes and that we can have that together.
This rings true to me right now. Thank you for your honest reflection Lindsay. Music is always there for me, but the industry seems to be moving increasingly faster making it difficult to keep up. You are right about keeping that ego in check and simply carrying on.