2023 has been a rollercoaster so far!
January started off with the promo and release of my very first single, Sunflower. For those who don't know, this song was written because of the tragic loss of my good friend Angela's son, Anderson, who was only 9 years old when he suddently left this world. As with any loss, Anderson's passing left a big hole in many people's hearts, especially in that of his parents. This song really dug into the feelings about loss and grief for Anderson's mother, for me, and for all people in the world who experience grief and/or fear.
To say that releasing my very first song is a dream come true is an understatement! This milestone, for me, was almost like the birth of my first child (ok, Suri, not quite like your birth but close!!). It really was amazing for me to be able to share my creative work with the world. The outward pouring of support, congratulations, happiness, understanding, love and connection was more than I ever anticipated. I thank all of my family, friends and mentors for believing in me. I am thankful too to my first fans and followers for finding something special in my first song, enough to show support by downloading it, presaving it, following me on social media and on Spotify. Most importantly, I also thank everyone who was touched by Anderson's story and who help keep his memory alive by listening to the song, sharing it and/or donating to his memorial foundation.
"Most importantly, I also thank everyone who was touched by Anderson's story and who help keep his memory alive by listening to the song, sharing it and/or donating to his memorial foundation."
If you haven't, you can still do so here under Caring Hearts Tribute Foundation, clicking on the drop down "In Memory of" and writing Anderson Sturm in the text box. Proceeds go towards the hospital where he was declared deceased and where he will eventually get a memorial tile if we can raise enough funds!
If not, you can also buy artist merch with art done by his mother, Angela Sturm - any proceeds from that will also go towards that fund and help support Anderson's memory.
The release has been so positively enlightening and it made me realize this artistic journey was one that I have always wanted to take. I have had tears of joy and gratitude almost every night. I am making music and helping touch lives with it. What gives me butterflies is watching the stream numbers increase and seeing all the little playlists (not just curators, but of casual listeners around the world with no followers who make playlists and include "sunflower" in the mix! YES!!! I can see it happening, right on Spotify for Artists!!) Thank you thank you to all of you. Now the unexpected grind is what happens next. I didn't know how much work it would be to try to get recognition for art that is now set free into the world. There is playlist pitching, media and blog pitching, pressure to keep social media active, engage followers, share and engage on your website as I am doing now and so on and so forth! I would say this part of my life is fun, but it's been definitely a lot of hard work that at times makes my day job in healthcare seem like a break!! I am NOT complaining at all. My hats as a healthcare worker, an artist, a mom and everything else are all things I love and what all challenge me differently and keep me balanced and living life busily and to its fullest! The fear of not keeping up the momentum in alll things, though, especially music, is real. At least though, I can always return to my WHY for sharing music: to share for meaningful connection. All the other stuff is just noise and hype and in the end, the music will always be there.
"At least though, I can always return to my WHY for sharing music: to share for meaningful connection."
Another highlight since I have checked in with you last was that I got to sing a special song I wrote for a friend for a very large audience. I sang my song to over 300 (maybe it was more like 400?? who knows) people at the Calgary Folk Club.
Mona's Song was written initially only for Mona, a special and positive person who I had the privilege to work with for many years. Mona got sick in hospital last fall and I wrote her this song to encourage her to keep her chin up - but slowly it seemed to help those around me who also felt the same feelings for her. I eventually shared it with more people. Since then, I have performed it and have been re-crafting it with the help of a seasoned local songwriter Nancy Laberge through Write On Songs.
After my performance, people came to tell me how special and touching the lyrics were and how they felt connected to the song because of their own personal experience. This was a very special night for me and I was also glad to share it with some talented artists and especially with a fellow Write On song participant, as well as my songwriting mentor. They all helped keep the night special and full of gratitude. I have Mona to thank for being such an inspiration always - you can imagine how someone like her could influence a special song into being!
The last week of February also had some unexpected twists and turns! I was asked last minute if I wanted to open for the Travelling Mabels at Gallery House Concerts and I was very fortunate, with my busy schedule, to be able to make it work!! The hosts, Jackie and Dale do a wonderful job making everyone, including the musicians, feel welcome in their home. They offer their home to travelling musicians as a place to stay, as well as a place to hold a small house concert. They have redesigned their home to make audience viewing and acoustics ideal, I was so impressed at their dedication to music in our city! Not only do they also prepare desserts and pizza for the break, they even ironed their napkins prior to guests arriving!! (I was there early with my oldest daughter, I saw the thought they put into the details!)
Last, but not least, the end of February brought with it a surprise, when I found out I had my first radio play from others who were listening to CKUA while I was at work. This was an exciting surprise! Another big step in my list of firsts on this musical journey. I am so thankful for the share by Leo Cripps on his Discoveries Radio Show. All the sharing, is what this is all about. And if it means spreading more of Anderson's love, then please share away!!!
Until next time.... if you have made it this far...thanks for sharing in my musical journey!! I appreciate you all <33