My first open mic experience!

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On Friday evening, I went to the Haven café in Cork to be a part of their weekly open mic night.

I remember when I woke up that morning, I was so excited and I just couldn’t wait for it! But waiting was all I would get to do on this fateful day. I mean, it was on at 8, so basically, ten hours after my breakfast, but there was more to it than I had bargained for. Once more, my patience & resolution were put to the test.

So, at around 7PM, this bright, hopeful cookie was at the door, with my host mom’s acoustic guitar (right-handed 😥 !), heading to the bus stop. I got there and was fifteen minutes early for my bus, so feeling pretty confident about making it on time (my intention to get there at least fifteen minutes early so I could cool down from the walking). That was all until I got caught up in a crowd of teenagers. I swear there were at least 40 of them. There were too many for me to be comfortable. And I was convinced there would be no room for me in the bus. Also, they were rude & pretty stupid. They were making fun of me, little did they know that I speak French and can sometimes understand some Spanish. *frowny face*

This eventually lead me to give up on my bus and walk down to Douglas to catch another bus. The buses down there get to the city much faster anyways, so I figured I’d be fine even though it was already quarter to by the time I got down there.

I had some time before the bus so I went to the bathroom. I was already so sweaty and tired. And I’m not gonna lie, this had already killed my spirit a little bit, but I had to keep going! So I got on the bus, and there, lovely surprise, the card machine was broken, therefore I didn’t have to pay for the bus! I sat down, quite satisfied of this small victory, and tried my best to breathe, calm down. In five minutes I would be in the city now. Except, no..

The bus had to make a little detour to the bus house thingy where all the buses go to sleep after their shift. What for? Well, to get a new card machine… That took us at least three minutes and I swear at this point, I was losing it. And when we eventually left, we had to stop again as the bus was making this high-pitched noise. Two more minutes. I was dying. Then, finally, we made it to the city.

Once again, I was walking so fast as if my life depended on it. I was three to four minutes away from the café, which was all the way to the other side of the quay. Now, you have to remember that there was no rush, had decided that there should be one. You know how it is once I set my mind on an idea… I really wanted to be there early, and since I wasn’t, my brain was on the “I’m late” mode. It was 8:03… Drama queen, I know!

Anyways, so I got there, really glad to see my friend Kart again! And Pete, a fellow singer-songwriter. (He is really good at playing the guitar, and plays the harmonica at the same time!) So, at last, amongst familiar faces, I could sit and enjoy the rest of the host’s performance. Kart then introduced me to everyone and then the magical night could begin…

The venue was a very cosy one. The stage was literally the back of the room, which made you level with everyone, which I guess contributed to the whole atmosphere. Everyone was friendly and supportive! It was definitely one of the best choices for a first time!!

I was third to perform! Which could I’ve freaked me out, but it didn’t! I remember that morning I kept having flashbacks to my theater performances from high school and university. I’ve actually always been quite fine with talking publicly and usually, being on a stage enhances my abilities! I remember when we used to rehearse our scenes in the classroom, I was “okay”, but every end of the year, when we would perform them on the stag, I would magically blow everyone away. But, guess I was a bit rusty…. It’s been more than three years since I’ve hit the stage after all…

Talking was fine. Although I did say “Hi!” AND “Hello!”. Like, what? These were exactly the two words I had forbidden myself to say as I was rehearsing that morning because I can never say them properly. I know it sounds stupid, but I can’t ever say a simple hi or hello, it always has to be weird. But it was okay nonetheless. I introduced myself and the song, and after that, I’m not sure what happened.

My voice was a little shaky but I tried as well as I could to keep it somewhat on track. Thing is, I was exhausted from all the running I did before, and my throat was as well, as I pushed a little too much during rehearsal that morning. So, I wasn’t breathing, projecting or even putting any emotion in it. It’s almost as if I wasn’t there. I was doing it, barely trying. I definitely did not give it all I had.

There was barely any energy. Breathing almost non existent. Therefore my vocals weren’t on point. Yet, somehow, it wasn’t so bad. And you know what? I picked two songs I know really well, which I would therefore not mess up too much, if at all, right? And, I forgot some of the lyrics in the Brandi song?? And then almost messed up a word in my own song???!!

What I am proud of though is that I kept going after the mess ups! Which is exactly what you should do, right?! Don’t let them know, show must go on! So, I guess that even though my vocals weren’t exactly my best and didn’t display a nice percentage of my abilities, I still handled the situation okayly. Considering the nerves and exhaustion!

But that it just my side of the story!

Everyone else actually enjoyed it. Which, I guess is what should matter in this situation! I mean, the point of a performance is to share, right? So, as much as you should enjoy it; what truly matters is if the audience enjoys it!

I got some nice clapping, which was quite confusing because I did not consider myself that good. So I figured they were just being polite.. But then, at the end of the night, when we were all packing to go home, I had many of the musicians come to me and tell me they really enjoyed my original song. And I was really surprised! Sadly, I was definitely getting sleepy by then and wasn’t exactly the most social being, all I could say was “thanks, thanks, haha, sure, yeah”.

I also had a little chat with the sound guy(??i think??), he was telling me how it was a nice song, and how it’s great to be able to tell a story. AND, he told me about a recording session thingy that they do in the café every Thursday evenings and that I should definitely drop by one time, to maybe record one of my songs. So, I’ll probably check it out this week and you will definitely hear about it if I do(which I will)!

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The Haven Café, Friday 13th, July 2018

So, that was it for my first ever musical performance, guys! It wasn’t as magical as I had imagined, it was in fact, pretty normal. But I enjoyed every bit of it!

I loved the supportive atmosphere and the diversity of the performances! Watching others play was both, entertaining, and educating. There is loads to learn from just watching people with more experience! Which reminds me of this quote from Frank Iero: “The best way to become a better player is to play with someone better than you“.

Everyone was so talented! And watching them share their personal songs like this was just, wow! And I remember the last one especially, he blew me away with his guitar skills. My eyes were struggling to keep open, but I swear I didn’t dream it! I don’t really remember people’s name, but I will learn them eventually! I’m definitely going back next Friday anyway, so I’ll probably see all of them again!

The venue was really nice and definitely the best for a first time! I’m so glad that Kart recommended it to me! She is such a good person! So nice to me and always introducing me to everyone and taking pictures! Bless her soul!!

Sadly, we didn’t get any videos of the night. Which at first I thought was a bummer, but then, on the bus back home, I realized it wasn’t so much of a bad thing not to have a physical trace of this first time. It wasn’t so bad, but I’d rather not have physical proof of it, you know what I mean? I’ll always have a nice memory of it and that is more than enough!! He he

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So, what I gathered from this first performance is that I need to work thrice as hard and twice as fast! I was definitely not satisfied with my performance so you can be sure that this hardworking cookie is going to get even more serious about things from now on!

Next time, I will actually give it my best and maybe get a video! 😉 And, I will get better, and better, and better, and better, and better, and better!

Here’s to more performances!!

I will be going to a different open mic on Monday night! And then once again to that one on Friday! Then the same one next Monday. And then probably going to fancy Gallagher’s on the Wednesday after that! And hopefully, that will keep going for the rest of the summer holidays?

We’ll see how it goes, and of course, I will keep updates on my journey as regular as they come on my precious, precious little blog!

 

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Performing for the first time tonight!!

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Hey there!

I still haven’t finished the post about my holidays back home, but it is on its way. It contains feelings which are hard to get out just yet, so it’ll take the time it needs!

I just wanted to write this right here to let you all know that I will be performing at an open mic tonight in the city! It will be my first ever musical performance and I cannot wait!

I will be singing Brandi Carlile’s what can I say alongside my latest original song, Running Gag.

I’ve been practicing all week long! I’m a little nervous right now even though it’s only four hours away. But I’m confident!

I’m going to be watching some Brooklyn 99 right now and rest my voice for a while! I wanted to do some work but my brain is too ecstatic for me to do anything other than relax atm.

I literally can’t wait anymore!! I am not fully ready, but I am so ready!!

I will definitely be blogging about it tomorrow!! Maybe I’ll even get some videos of it, which would be great!

I will do my best and I hope that it all turns out awesome and I can have some nice memories of this first time!

Cheers!

Running Gag (original song)

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This is about never giving up, even when life gets you down and pain&fear grips your throat tighter than skinny jeans.

Words:

I keep turning the pages of this book that makes no damn sense

And it’s hard to keep my head in the game when my heart’s in pieces

I don’t know where I’m going to

But I gotta keep running

I’m terrified of all that’s to come

But I can’t stay down and dream this life away

There’s pain and lies and blood and fights

But there’s still light and love for me to find

So I gotta keep running

I don’t want to let bad experiences and fear hold me back.

It’s easy to just sit back and refrain from trying. You can build a nice little empire in your head without ever having to struggle and suffer; a dream world. But I refuse. And I know that there’s Light and Love everywhere.

Gotta keep running through the pain and fear and remember that this is all perfect and beautiful, only not in a fairytale way.

Remember, fear is fuel to your fire. Eat it. Don’t let it eat you.

Until next post, keep running! ❤

Feeling g(.)(.)d

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pardon the silly title he he

Today was such a beautiful day. In a very simple way. And I just feel so good! So, here’s me, writing a blog post about this beautiful day.

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I went for a walk this morning, straight after dropping the kids to school. Usually I take the bus to the city, so I can read a bit and then walk back home, but I wanted to try something different. And so, I called my sister and walked all the way to the city. One hour under the warm morning sun!

When I reached the city, I had a quick debate with my sister whether I should go for a coffee or not. And eventually, I settled for an ice cream, which I devoured on my way back home!!! And from then on, I just got some nice little surprises. From the smile of the busker to whom I gave my change to the group of French tourists I helped. It was a lovely morning!!

And then, when I got back home, I only had enough time to have a snack and practice my guitar scales.

 

I was not so productive, although I did go through one of my theory exercises. (Just now.) It’s a “sight-playing” exercise which I’ve been struggling on for the past two weeks. And this time, I actually managed to play through it all with a click on (70bpm… hehehe). I mean, I did make loads of mistakes but I kept playing anyways, adding some silent bars and beats here and there! Ha ha

Although I wish I had done more, I am completely at peace with it.

Another thing that I talked about in the videos for channel #2, is how, apart from feeling overall good, I’m also just feeling very happy with my little empire that I’m slowly building.

These past few months, I have become more aware of all the progress that I’ve made ever since I started working on building this empire. And I’ve been giving myself more credit for all the distance that I’ve walked already! Although I am fully aware that I’ve not even reached half of it, I am proud of myself for having gotten so far. All the hard work (stubbornness) is starting to pay off…

I’ve done loads of looking back, and remembered of all the immense struggles that I used to have when I had just started learning the guitar/singing. It fills me with confidence and powerful hope, and never fails to bring a smile to my face. I am now capable of doing things that I once thought I could never possibly do. And I have overcome most of the things that used to hold me back!

There’s a lot more skills, a lot more confidence and way more natural and magic! Which is something that I was telling my host dad last night, as we shared a beer in the back garden and joked about Robert the pigeon.

As you may already know, I’m always looking for the light everywhere, and there is a special thing that I see in everyone which I like to refer to as “a spark” or “un je-ne-sais-quoi” for when I’m feeling French. And that spark is something that I’ve been feeling pretty much in everyone. From my favorite artists to my friends whose art resonate in me.

And the thing is that I am now starting to feel it in my work… Like, last night, for example, as I was listening to What You Are Without Me with my host dad, I could feel some sparks in the music, filling the air with a strange, haunting, magic. And it’s crazy because, it is my voice; it is me.

And you know what’s even crazier? It’s that I can feel it, inside of me, that it is happening. Soon. I can see it slowly building in my hands, as I write better songs and manage to reach more people. And I can feel it deep inside that it’s all just around the corner. And it is terrifying!!! (I will surely elaborate on that feeling on another post pretty soon.)

But it also makes me so happy.

This is the main reason I came here in the first place anyways. To get my empire rolling. And, guys, not to jinx it, but it is happening!!!

When I come back from my holidays (which are in less than three weeks now!!!), I will be jumping head first in! And I just can’t wait…

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Life is good. I’m in such a good place. Things are looking up.

I’m more me. I’m creating more and better. I’m happier and healthier! And surrounded by such supportive and kind-hearted people & a pigeon.

Things are almost fully on the way! I’m seeing my family again in three weeks.

My songs are cool. I’m cool. Robert is cool!

And the new season of Arrested Development is finally on Netflix!

What is there not to get excited about?

I want it all!

Anyways, until next post, make sure you keep looking for the light! It’s always there. Not always the color you’d expect. But it is real and it is everywhere!

I had such a beautiful day and it’s only Tuesday, so hopefully that’ll help me rock the rest of this week!! ❤

What You Are Without Me (original song)

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So, I wrote a part two type of thing to my song What Are You Without Me? And here it is:

I really don’t have anything to say about it because the lyrics say it all.

The words:

Have you found somebody new

To take care of the jerk that you are?

Are you wishing on the moon

For a friend like me again?

Cos if you are I’ll let you know that you won’t

Find somebody like me

Find somebody as crazy

Are you still a piece of shit

That needs to bring everyone down to shine?

Are you still a selfish prick

That takes & steals & breaks & hates?

I know it’s childish

But you called me a bitch first

I know it’s in the past

But how could I forget?

I bet you’re still a piece of shit…

Wouldn’t have changed you even if I tried!

Bet you’re still lonely and dead inside,

But I still wish you the light

Maybe one day you will find somebody to show you how to love

If you are

I’ll let you know that it won’t surprise me if you don’t change!

But you know what?

After all, I still do hope that you do find somebody like me

To love your all, and if you do,

I hope that it turns out to be somebody better than you!

Thanks for your time! Cheers! ❤

My art journey so far…

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Hi everyone! Story time!

It all started back in January 2016…

That’s the month I decided to start getting serious about life and start doing the things that I’ve always wanted to do. University was making me miserable and eventually, four months in, it finally pushed me towards where my heart was this whole time.

It’s kind of crazy that I had to wear myself out doing things that I didn’t care about in order to open a door which wasn’t even locked in the first place. In fact, there wasn’t even a door. It was just literally right next to me. I just preferred touching the things that were further away and not even real. All the while being fully aware that it was next to me and that I should have been giving my heart to it and nothing else. It is pretty silly, but I guess sometimes it takes what it takes…

So, I started a blog, I bought a sketchbook and all sorts of art supplies that looked appealing. And it’s also the month I bought my first left-handed guitar and started a healthier music journey.

Here is my very first sketchbook which I bought from a very French shop in Lille:

 

 

And I customized it as best as I could, dressing it up in my favorite people’s favorite quotes. (By the way, these Lynz quotes are like, so important!) And, I swear, everytime I would open it, it felt like I was opening a window on such a bright horizon!

And then, the magic happened…

I still remember the first time I attempted drawing anything, which was in fact, in a different sketchbook, and how it blew me away.

See, the thing is, I had always kept in mind this idea that I was simply really bad at drawing and kind of accepted it as my universal truth. When I decided to get serious at it, I was ready for all the hard work it would take me to get to a fairly decent level because I knew that I was starting really low..

So, when I put my pencil on the page and these happened:

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I couldn’t believe it. At first.

Then, I could totally believe it. And maybe it filled me with a little too much confidence which led to some disappointment when I tried out drawing again the following days and I was not creating masterpieces.

It was only a test to see how well I could follow a simple tutorial, and even my preliminary lines were a perfect match to the tutorial! Which I had certainly not expected since I had never been good at copying things. And I nailed it. So, I expected to nail everything from then on, which of course, was purely a fantasy…

However, from that moment on, I progressed on and on and faster than I ever thought was possible! Things just clicked so easily and I unlocked brand new patience slots every single day, I forgot the meaning of “impossible”!

The amazing thing is that, all the things in the first part of that sketchbook, even the most mediocre sketches are still so many levels higher than what I thought I was capable of at the time! The last time I had actually drawn anything before that was for my highschool drama group and it was far from that quality!

As I said in the video, it’s like my decision to dedicate myself to art pushed open a door from which skills just came pouring out, as if they had been held back this whole time, but never locked away.

I like to joke that it all just fell from the sky and hit me in the face. But I don’t believe this sort of things can happen that way. It had to be here all along, laying silently, patiently, waiting for me to call…

An incomplete tour of that 2016-2018 sketchbook:

 

 

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At the end of it, I wrote a little looking back note, which I read in my video. That was back in last December, which is when I finally finished this sketchbook! Phew!!!!

And that was a big relief, finishing it! Because I started it so long ago and it held with it not only the memories of all the places I went to and carried it with me, but also all of the storms that I had to keep running through. Which is both a good thing and a hard one. But I think that’s what makes it so precious… As you flip the pages, you can see the evolution of both, my mind and art skills. It’s the perfect document of my journey from & through Lille to Ireland.

I’ll hang on to this sketchbook for as long as I can, not because I need a reminder of where I started from so I can fully celebrate my growth, I’m not gonna lie. I think it is mostly because, as much as it hurts, these are parts of the past that I can’t let go of.

At least not yet.

Oh, how I’ve grown!

It started with a spark. Which didn’t come out of nowhere but from the depths of me. And I’ve been burning ever since. Different intensities, different colors. But, burning on!

Here’s a little side by side of “firsts” from that period and latests:

 

Both as an artist and a person, I’m in a much better place now. I am capable of more and willing to try harder. I’m happier and healthier! I’m stronger, more determined, more dedicated and focused. And, man, have you seen my last painting???

The road was long and dark and bumpy to get here. But I wouldn’t change a thing. I learned a lot about myself and the world. It sure hurt me, but it also forced the best out of me. Gotta learn the hard way when you’re born to be wild! hehehe

Now, I’m looking forward to all that’s to come. All the lessons and the learning. The new skills and the acquisition of all the knowledge. The creations and discoveries. The people and the things. The places and the moments. The smiles and the tears.

I’m grateful for all that’s past and all that is present. And I’m looking forward to more life.

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Literally best selfie of the day. He he. Looking forward!

And, I think that’s it! Proud of my progress and looking forward to more! Because there’s nothing like getting more and more comfortable in your own little universe. Being able to fly freely-ish in my music and art is a big goal! 😉

Until next post, keep working and keep believing! ❤