I played a bold move last night and announced my departure from all social media platforms. It felt like even before I’d hit the ‘post’ button that an influx of well wishes, goodbyes, stay in touches, hearts, likes and LOVES were being bestowed upon me and I instantly felt that warmth of affection from so many people! This decision has been a long time coming. My love hate relationship with social media was recently tipped over the edge after watching ‘The Social Dilemma’ on Netflix. It explained all the reasons why I personally have struggled with social media for years. When I think through the implications for society, how social networking sites have progressively made us an antisocial species, I am terrified. Or rather, we now ‘socialize’ in a way that has changed the face of how we function as a society. It is all too easy to sleepwalk through an apocalypse of mind manipulation and while I am powerless to stop it, I will be making every effort NOT to be part of it.
Right now, as depressing as it sounds, my career, music and the arts have been thrown into peril due to the virus. Wether you are aware or not, millions of musicians like me are struggling with the great unknown of when? When can we get back to sharing music with a live audience in a meaningful way and not through a computer or worse, a phone? I keep thinking if I had an end date to this nightmare, things would certainly feel a little more manageable but alas the fear of this virus will be around for who knows how long and I have no control over how long society will take to heal.
I have joined the masses all frantically trying to connect and communicate through online, virtual and livestream performances. It is the only thing we can do right now. It is vital to my human spirit and psyche to at least try and connect with you. I was born to play music, my soul will not and can not cope without making music and if this is my only way, I’ll take it!
And so, even while it’s online, a concert is not just the product of hours of rehearsals, fine tuning and pushing boundaries. One of the most important reasons for doing what I do, is about you! Communicating with my audience through music doesn’t just involve me but also you, my listeners. It takes two to tango, it takes two to communicate. We talk and we listen in a conversation and while it may be me that is moved to speak on that stage, you the listener are an equal partner in the conversation of a concert. The listener and the performer are both essential in the art of communicating and making a connection.
When I perform, I wear my heart on my sleeve, I have actually shed tears in performances before.. I share that space in a concert with my audience and as we travel through the notes with all their emotions there is an intimacy that is born through the deepest kind of vulnerability. Now, there is a new depth of honesty between us that can never be taken away, replaced or undone. This is what music is, this is what live music is. It connects humans with the very deepest of emotions. Real emotions that can feel raw and uncomfortable but I honestly believe that even though it feels visceral, that shared vulnerability of allowing yourself to feel is what will get us through this life and into the next.
For the last decade, so many of my impulses have been to ‘connect’ through social media but humans are social creatures. I am not an algorithm, I am a person with a beating heart that yearns for truth, connection and meaningful experiences that will unite us. This is what music is. It gives us hope that shapes us, it gives us hope that makes us and if you allow it, it will connect us forever.