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I turned 40 on the 8th November last year.

I wanted to do something a bit different for my birthday party… so.. I invited a whole bunch of friends to The Shed (a coffee shop at my Mom’s place, Fisherman’s Village)… and organised a bit of a jam with some of my favourite people (and muso friends).

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It has been a LONG time… as in years… since we’ve jammed together… and I loved every moment spent in the company of my muso friends.

I also realise how much I miss music… and how much it is still a part of my life (even if only in my dreams for now).

For a large chunk of my life, it was music that defined me.  My life revolved around music.  Nick and I met in 1996 when we played in a band together… and ‘jamming’ and ‘rehearsing’ and ‘writing new songs’ was what life was all about.

Heather's40thweb-6I worked a lot with choirs and church music teams… arranging music… arranging vocals… (teaching 4-part-harmonies to people who had no musical background) – oh, I have some stories that I could share about that…

Music is what took me on my first solo trip to the States.

I had won a songwriting competition called “The Diamond in the Rough”… and a Nashville producer offered to produce my first album.  Again… oh, the stories I could share about that experience (and what I learned)…

Music was the driving force behind my travels to Cuba and Ukraine… and the reason why I lived and worked in Ohio for a year.  My passion for music had me leading mass choirs in Ellis Park stadium for 2 years in a row… and travelling all over the country with my keyboard-in-tow.  Music had me spending hours in the recording studio… and writing endless songs… (some of which have been publicly sung – others which have been tucked away and forgotten)…

Two of my biggest projects… Tapestry of Dreams… and VENT! incorporated generous helpings of MUSIC.

And yet…

Nick (an insanely talented musician) and I haven’t jammed together for years.  Life kinda happened.  We had kids.  We opened businesses.  We got busy.  We got tired.  We became disenchanted…

And, it seems like music was lost.

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My 40th birthday party was a great excuse (for me)… to gather my favourite musician friends around for one last jam.  

It was… for me… a bitter-sweet evening.  Part of me felt like I had to say ‘goodbye’ to this music dream (for once and for all)… another part of me yearned for music to stay around for a while longer…

hI still love music.  Every now and then (like tonight)… I’ll plug in my keyboard and play… sing… dream… a bit.

I want to harmonise… compose… arrange… I want to tell stories through song.  I want to collaborate with like-minded artists.  I want to show the world what I’m capable of (because there’s an entirely different sound that comes out of me when I’m alone in my room… and completely free… to the sound that comes out of me when I’m in front of people and in “nervous-insecure-performance-mode”).

At my 40th… I was nervous and insecure about my performance… and I hated the sound of my voice… (and continually asked myself the question:  

“Heather?  You crazy lunatic!  What on earth have you done?  You’re past your sell-by date, chick!  You should NOT be up on that stage… not even for your birthday party!  You don’t have what it takes!”

That’s the ‘bitter’ part.

Perhaps it’s like actors who utterly adore the craft of acting… but who refuse to watch their own movies because they can’t bare watching themselves on the big screen.

Maybe (most) artists are perpetually self-critical.

And insecure.

But there was the sweet part too…

The sweet part was spending time… and sharing laughs… with my favourite people.  The atmosphere was warm and kind… and although I lashed myself with critical thoughts… my friends were warm and kind and full of love and encouragement.

So… happy birthday to me.

Maybe I’ll write a song about it…