In 2017 I turned 30. At the time I was in gainful employment, and had been playing music in public, as a hobby, for about a year. Writing and performing my own songs was something I’d always dreamed of doing. But it’s a difficult and very exposing activity, and it had taken me a long time to work up the courage. The looming milestone birthday had finally prompted me to have a long hard think about some of my life choices.
Music offers an amazing way to connect with people. The songs that I’ve loved best throughout my life have been those that showed me something about myself, or something I had in common with the songwriter. Almost always they gave me a new perspective on our shared humanity. I wanted desperately to make music that did that – to add my voice to the great global conversation about who we are, and what it means to be human.
So at the start of the year I left my stable, secure full-time job behind. I invested in some gear and a bit of training. I started playing more gigs. I worked at reorganising my life so that music had the central place in it that I’d always wanted.
In the months since I’ve experienced moments of utter panic – over money, over whether I had made a huge mistake, over whether I was good enough. I got diverted a few times by other people’s ideas about what a career in music was supposed to look like. It took a while for me to realise that I needed to define success for myself.
So more than half the year had gone by the time I started working on my first big recording project. I’d agonised about the right way to approach recording an EP for months. I felt a lot of pressure to get it right, since this was going to be the representation of my music for the foreseeable future. As a result of which, by August, nothing much had really happened.
And then, late one night, I had an epiphany. I had been worrying too much about making the right choices, when there was no right choice. I didn’t need to seek anyone else’s approval, or permission – the only person who needed to be happy with the result was me.
So I decided that I would have a go at recording myself. What I was making would not be a fully-fledged EP, but a pre-EP. Something put together entirely in my bedroom, that didn’t have to be right, or perfect, but something that I was happy with, as a representation of my music out in the world.
And it is getting there! It has been a very steep learning curve. I have made a lot of mistakes. I have had to do a few things more than once, because I realised too late that I had missed something important, or that a different approach would have worked better. But I have had the luxury of a little bit of time, and of only having to make compromises with myself. The results are deeply imperfect, but they are an honest and authentic representation of my songs, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
I hope to have the project all wrapped up by the end of the year, so watch this space! You can sign up to my mailing list to be the first to find out when you can get hold of the finished product.
And here’s a tiny spoiler for you – the new tagline on the website is a bit of a giveaway about the theme of the project!
Let Your Colours Fly.
Lisa Maps xo