Discovery can happen at all stages in our lives. Whether it's a new area of creativity or one that we've recently rediscovered, it's never too late to start the Discovery process. My music is a great example. I have been singing for as long as I can remember - when my family lived in the mountains in Colorado my Sandi Patty and Amy Grant tapes were my constant companions. I sang my guts out with those two and followed the melodies of Julie Andrews (as Maria Von Trapp) during her Alpine adventures in the Sound of Music. I sang on the worship team at church and in choirs for years, singing everything from 4-chord worship music to Italian arias - but always music written by someone else.
I grew up telling people to listen to my voice and not my musicianship because I only played to accompany my voice as my real instrument. At some point I stopped using my voice as the excuse to not grow as a musician. I'm still not where I'd like to be but I've come a long way from where I was ten years ago. All of this seemed like a natural progression. I didn't really think about it being art or something super different - my family and most of my friends are musical and I've always felt about average in the talent pool of my community. Somewhere along the line I dreamed of recording and performing my music but it seemed out of reach and unrealistic. As I compared myself to other more accomplished musicians I grew intimidated and shut down.
Seven years ago, (crazy to realize it's been that long!) I took a chance and went to a week long workshop for worship leaders. This school propelled me into songwriting. Since that point, writing music has become a way to express my heart, especially in response to painful situations in my community. In the last two years I've the desire has grown to play and write more of my own music and perform it in public. I started studying songwriting and crafting my songs into something beautiful. Songwriting began to be an art form. A year ago producer Alex Priore offered to help me record some of my music. This offer scared the sh*t out of me. Could I really admit that I was good enough to record? Was I willing to risk that no one would want to listen to my music or think it was good? Was I really just a fraud? Could I own music openly as something I wanted more of and loved?
I had to give myself permission to pursue my music for my own sake. Not for publicity or earning approval from anyone. Not to start a music career. Not to make money. But to honor the dream, time, investment, gift, talent, and desire that were burning inside of my heart. The process of recording was scary and forced me to constantly face my fears and intimidation, but the legitimacy that I received from it and the support of my community has been amazing (more on that later). The key was giving myself permission to make my music, even if it wasn't well received, even if it was bad, even if I was the only one who got something out of it - to make it for myself. I gave myself permission to try to accomplish what was in my heart and it's been a beautiful journey so far.
What's in your heart? What burning desire have you hidden inside that is dying to come out? I'd love to hear in the comments.
Emily is a creative entrepreneur, loving life in Virginia Beach, VA by way of DEN, CLT, & NYC. As the co-founder of Bright Ideas she spends her time doing freelance photography, writing music and blog post, designing pretty web things, drinking coffee, experimentally cooking, and exploring her city. You can listen to Emily's music, follow her adventures on Instagram or Twitter, see what inspires her on Pinterest, check out her photography on Facebook, or hire her here.