At 4.15am on Tuesday March 15th I crawled into bed with a smile on my face. I was thoroughly wired on caffeine, adrenaline and the excitement of nearing completion on Faydee’s EP. It was the first time I had produced a full body of work for an artist in a long time and I couldn’t help but feel proud of my accomplishment - a feeling I hadn’t experienced for a long time.
I found it difficult to control the thoughts in my mind and force myself to sleep. Making an EP of five new songs is harder than it sounds. We underestimated the amount of work required and had already blown through two deadlines set by Faydee’s label Buckle Up Entertainment. On top of the pressure from Faydee, his label and management and myself, I could feel the pressure building from Faydee’s fans to release new music. I noticed online that fans were starting to make a joke out of the fact that they had been promised an EP a few times and never received it.
Of course, fans forget that in order to release music, we need to be 100% confident that we are taking a step forward creatively and that the new music is an improvement on the existing releases. I have a feeling those fans would turn their backs on us pretty quickly if we started releasing bad music - I’ve seen it happen time and time again with plenty of other artists. I looked at my phone to check the time - it was now past 5am. Somehow I eventually managed to drift off to sleep. I don’t know how or when, but I know I must have by the fact that I woke up at 8.30am, feeling like death.
After completing the final tweaks on the EP songs I made the 3 hour solo car trip to Sydney to catch up with some close friends I hadn’t seen in a while. I struggled to keep my eyes open on the way to Sydney, but I was buzzing on the feeling of satisfaction of finally completing the project and the excitement of catching up with my friends. In all honesty I would have preferred to finish the songs and go back to bed, but I gave my friends my word that I would make it to see them that night.
When I finally reached my friend’s place in Sydney, we sat down and started catching each other up on our respective personal developments since the last time we all spoke. Both friends I was seeing work in the entertainment business - one works as a marketing head for a company that owns several popular magazines and the other works at a prestigious recording studio in London which is frequented by many A-list stars. I was surprised to find that when my turn came to talk, they were cutting me off, talking over me and dismissing my stories.
I expressed my genuine excitement about the EP, and was met with some unexpected questions. I remember being asked “so why make an EP?” a handful of times, which seems like a strange thing to ask someone who just put everything they had into making one. On top of this comes the standard barrage of questions about the success of previous releases, the stability of the personal relationships within the team and how the financial side of things are going. I try to be as quiet about the success of our projects as possible, but people don’t like that. People love to continuously try and jab me and knock me down about my work until I’m forced to retaliate with the statistics - numbers don’t lie - then they call me cocky.
I played the lead single Legendary, and after 4-5 seconds of listening and a dismissive “it’s good” accompanied by a big smile they began to talk over it and ignore the fact that I was playing something for them which I had worked so hard on and which so many people were eagerly anticipating. I don’t want to make any kind of accusations here that my friends are anything except great people, as that would be a lie. These are people who have showed me so much genuine love, understanding and generosity over the years, and people that I would always consider to be close friends. However, when the subject of my music is raised, I always feel a subtle yet unmistakeable desire to bring me down to earth, or more likely just to bring me down.
Over the course of the night, I was speaking with Faydee on the phone and we were making some minor tweaks to the production on the last song (Jealous). Every time the phone rang and I would excuse myself to take the call, my friends would say things like “you have to work now?”, referred to Faydee as a “slave driver”, and made fun of me for working after hours. I immediately realised that this process of perfecting a creative work, being passionate about the standard of my music, being motivated enough to choose to get things right no matter how long it takes, was a completely foreign concept to these people. I realised that these were people who had spent their whole lives using work as means to an end, namely, money.
I was overcome with sympathy for them and decided not to go into a defensive rant like I would have in the past. As the night progressed, I was receiving updates on the songs from Faydee and listening to give feedback on mix changes. Whenever I opened my laptop to download the files, one friend in particular would say “you’re not actually going to listen to that now are you?” with raised eyebrows and a look of utter condescension on her face.
I feel sorry for people who wake up everyday to do something they don’t want to do, just for money. I can understand the subconscious resentment that those people would have towards me, because I’m someone who refuses to follow rules set by society. I fight hard on a daily basis to take my gift for music as far as possible and to reach as many people as I can. People with normal lives and jobs looking down their noses at us when we need to take a work call after hours is just a brief afterthought when it comes to the real issues we full time creatives have to face everyday.
And, in a twist of sweet irony, the millions of people around the world who have loved my music and made it a part of their lives are never around to stand beside me and defend me when people try and take aim at it. Fortunately, projects can be successful despite how many people don’t believe in them - Faydee and I have proved that beyond any doubt. I know it's likely that hundreds of thousands of people will hear the songs on this EP and they will truly get it, and hopefully they will even purchase it and request it at radio and help make it a success like they have always so graciously done in the past.
The amount of love and positive energy we receive when new projects come out makes all of this worth it. Knowing people are enjoying my music as much as I do enables me to get behind the keyboard day after day with a big smile on my face, and as long as I don't stay up till 4am, that smile makes it all the way through to bed time. I make music to bring happiness to the ones who get it, not to impress the ones who don’t. Thanks to everyone who supports me, and my sympathies to those who can’t. Here’s to all of us being #Legendary.