It has been a little more than a year since the Familiar Strangers album launch. What an adventure it has been so far! Going to radio stations and seeing ‘Familiar Strangers’ on not one, but several (!!) radio charts, including at a Chinese station for my song “安东尼” made my heart full with excitement. We launched my album at The Bee, and it was such a big place and people actually came. Back then, I couldn’t enjoy any of those moments fully because it was also terribly terrifying. When you’re dreaming for something to happen, and then seeing it really happening is a mixture of pure happiness and anxiety. I was ecstatic, and I was also afraid.
Now looking back on it all I can feel happy, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
I’ve come to realise that there’s so much more that isn’t about the music at all. Trying to figure out where I belong feels like a never ending search and I’m running in circles. I guess I only knew how to navigate through the process of writing a song, writing the lyrics the way I want a feeling to sound, trying to turn an idea into something. But navigating my way in the industry, and existing in a society of social media are skills I don’t have. I’m learning a little more about it with every adventure though.
I started writing the album Familiar Strangers a couple of years ago. I recorded little demos in my room nobody listened to. It was like a collection of feelings over the years. I recorded two songs with a producer and never released them. We made big plans that were probably too big for us to handle anyway. It hit me hard that that it didn’t work out, and maybe I became more skeptical about these things after that.
Then, Abraham contacted me and we met with Ian and Daniel and all of a sudden I signed a contract to work with them. I am so grateful to pH Music for giving me the chance to express myself creatively, and for turning my songs into something more than what I thought they could be. I think I’ve said it before, but it really has been so surreal to make the album, experience my first mini tour, and travel to different places with them.
They listened to all my songs and we chose the ones that stood out. We recorded the songs, released a few singles while we continued to work on the rest of the album. We didn’t have an album title until just before we recorded the last song: Patterson Street. After that came deciding on the track list, working with Adam and Noah for the design and photos, and printing the album. Everything was pretty much “okay so this is done, now on to the next part” and the next, and the next. It made it less daunting looking at things one step at a time. After all that was done came some of the most challenging parts: (that are still a challenge now, to be honest)
Promoting the album,
Trying to stand out in an ocean of people all doing the same thing,
Writing to companies and venues and not getting a response,
Remembering to post on social media even when you feel like you don’t know how to exist,
Attending events when social situations are scary,
Feeling grateful for an audience who listen,
Worrying I may never write another good song,
Talking to media in mandarin and English,
Trying to be in the moment and enjoy the good things when they come,
Planning and executing plans despite all of the above,
And on top of that trying to create from the same honest place I started. It feels like I have done so much, and at the same time it always feels like I haven’t done enough. So many things that I want to do but I don’t know how. And its so easy to get caught up with that, without realising all the wonderful things that have already happened.
Sorry I haven't really been performing much lately. I've been writing though. Maybe it will turn into a new project, maybe it wouldn't, but I'm still figuring things out. Writing this was supposed to be a 1-year anniversary post for the album, but I took too long to write it (and it is also now too long for an instagram post) but it has become a reminder that all the little steps actually got me somewhere, and I just hadn’t really noticed. Thank you so much for listening to my music. I hope the songs I wrote when I felt alone made you feel less alone somehow. It sure made me feel that way when I sang them. Thank you for reading this, for supporting my music, for writing comments, and for being there.