09 February 2015

Over Sensitive Artist

I love Sia Furler's work.

I love her voice and I love her writing. If you go back to my straight for the knife blog entry, she had already affected me with saying what I was feeling about a man. It was painful at first but now I can listen to that song and feel the learning that went with that whole experience.

Last night I was over sensitive about some of the comments my friends were making about her performance on the Grammy's. Several people wrote similar statuses of, "What is this mess?"
I don't know it really upset me.

So I wrote a little comeback on facebook:

"So many people are posting about Sia in a negative way. I love her. She is an amazing songwriter and was only going to write and get out of performing for many reasons. How hard the industry can be on people, women in particular. Her problems with addiction. People not accepting her and her faring better as a writer...
I think about stage fright, and insecurities and still being able to find a way to perform because she turns her back on the audience. Performing through our fears. She has an amazing voice.
And I see the dance as the crazy mental chatter in our heads. People who go crazy. People who suffer from depression and paranoia. The thoughts, the crazy thoughts.
You don't have to like her but take a moment and think about what she is doing. She is an artist.
My grammys rant for the year."

A couple of people responded rather kindly. I don't think I was looking for a response per se. And I said, "all I wanted was people to think about it before they dismiss it. She touches me in my deep place where all my fears live and I want people to see that. They can continue on disliking her, of course, but I want them to at least see the validity of her work."

I think what is happening is that I am seeing myself as an artist again.

Recently, at work, the conversation came up about being mortgage poor. One of the managers said she couldn't do something because she was mortgage poor. I said I couldn't do it because I was music poor. I spend all my money on music.
Someone asked me if I downloaded music for free. "Hell no. I pay for other peoples work. I understand how hard it is to do the work. I understand how hard it is to be an artist and survive off the money you make off it. Heck I'm a discouraged artist and working here because I haven't had what it takes to be a paid, thriving artist."

My boss went into a long monologue about buying a whole album for one good song and yadda yadda yadda. I tuned him out.

There's no excuse for that now. You can buy one song.

I talk so much about healing and themes each year. And I'm slowly seeing that it's my artist that I'm starting to look at healing.

It's funny, as I wrote my little Grammys rant on facebook last night I forgot that Sia's album title is 1000 forms of fear. And yet in my facebook response I said, "She touches me in my deep place where all my fears live."

Yes fear and missing out on so many more flavours.
I've been a multi-talented person from when I was very little.
I always danced. I was the little girl who automatically started dancing to music even before I could speak. My mother would get me to dance in front of the grown ups and they would all watch me with big smiles. Dancing then was just moving up and down but I improved once I got older. I wanted to be a solid gold dancer. Dance training was never an option or even an idea of an option.

In grade 2 or 3, I discovered my singing voice. I can remember that singing class (there was such thing when I was a kid)when we sang the same song as a group and everyone turned around in class to look at me because my voice was louder than everyone else. My singing teacher encouraged me but I wasn't at that school long enough for it to move on to any real training or options. I went to three different schools in grade three. By the third school I was a quieter, shy, child. No one knew I could sing.

My mom would get me to sing in front of the company when she had parties. Often she would get me to sing, Firefly, to the record by The Temptations. It was her favourite song. My mother always wanted to be a singer. Her praise and criticisms were unpredictable. They would range from the sing to my friends to stop showing off, you don't even know what you are doing.

I used to draw. If you ever read my old blog entries you would know that both my brother and I would draw. My brother was the Picasso to my Charles Schultz. I could only draw cartoons. My brother could draw wild animals, people, landscapes and cartoons. Where my brother's drawings were put up around the house by my mother for admiration, my cartoons were completely ignored. So I gave up drawing and picked up writing.

I've been writing since I was 10 years old. I have been offered mentorships by professional writers three times in my writing life. I ran away in fear because a couple of people whose opinions I valued told me they were not interested in helping me, they were only interested in stealing my work.

I've been a blocked and creative artist interchangeably for my entire adult life. I am not blaming anyone, please understand. I am simply saying that I needed others to help me to believe enough in myself and my talents.
Those are a brief look into my fears.

Growing up being in love with music I could never understand why it was so hard to have easy access to all the types of music. You know, radio was top 40. My mom did play jazz on a Saturday afternoon or classical on a Sunday. Classical was annoying until it wasn't and so was jazz for that matter. Right?

As an adult as I listen to the music from my childhood I hear so much more because I have so much more experience and music knowledge. When I listen to Blood, Sweat & Tears song, Spinning Wheel, I don't hear it as a classic rock song, I hear it as a jazz piece. And Queen's, Somebody to Love, I hear as a gospel song.

I guess the more we know, the more we appreciate and the more we see.

The main reason I love Sia's performances is because she turns her back on the audience. She's telling me and every over-sensitive artist, in every performance that there are ways to still put our work out there and carry our fears along with us. We can bring the mental chatter and our crazy along with us.

I'm asking people to open your minds to the artists out there, even if you don't like them. And see the bigger picture.

We all say we're tired of the lowest common denominator ass shaking and boob revealing performances but we can't expect to get through that and past that until we start to see what options there can be out there. I only started to love movement theatre because I was exposed to it. It was a beautifully, brilliant piece done at a fringe show that Theatre Rusticle did called the Stronger. I didn't understand it for the first half of the show until I did. And then it was a cannonball through my soul. It blew me wide open.

We need to make a proper space for our artists. They chronicle our experiences. They help us to articulate our humanity. We can't simply dismiss someone's work with what is this mess?
The two friends who did respond to my facebook rant said they just didn't like the song. Mind you, they weren't the ones who said, What is this mess? So they were never the people I was talking to. You don't like the song, you don't like the song. That I can understand. That's specific.

What is this mess? I don't get why she's singing facing the wall and she has this child and woman making these frenetic moves. Then we're open for a dialogue. Open for interpretation. Open to learn.

What is this mess? A brilliant woman who is finding a way to put her work out there through 1000 forms of fear.


15 Songs you never knew were written by Sia

Criticism of Sia using 12 year old dancer Maddie

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