If my 2016 has a theme, it is probably this: finding comfort amidst the confusion.
An Unsure Start
Finishing university in 2015 meant I was back in my old job — the reason I had gone to uni in the first place — and wondering what my plan was going to be. In September 2015, I gave myself a year to find the next new challenge, and so had set about writing a funding bid to Youth Music for a new project at work. That application went off in January, and kick started so much of this years big moments.
By May, we found out that our funding bid was successful and my new role as M-Tech project manager had begun. It's meant incredibly long hours, and so much extra work, but it was the challenge I needed when I decided it was make or break last September. It's been an incredible start, and one of my first jobs when I'm back in January is to wrap up what we've learnt from the Autumn term, which I can't wait to share.
Over the year, I've been recording with Pyra, continuing to work on new music together. This year, we both feel like we're creating our best work yet, and whilst much of it remains hidden until it is finished, 2016 did see two songs we worked on go out in to the world: ‘Ride U Better’ and ‘Bodies’ (embedded above).
In August, I released an EP under the name Invaleurs:
I have a confession.
For too long, the anxieties I experience around sharing my music online have kept me from creating things I love. But when I set out writing these songs, I made them just for me.
With that freedom, I could explore more freely, able to push beyond the boundaries of my own comfort zone, to create songs I am proud of. And so, I am sharing them with you
If you enjoy them, if you share them too, then I feel honoured to know that these songs have found new connections beyond the ones I hold with them. If you don't, that's fine too. I've already done what I set out to do.
This year we went on a big family holiday to Cornwall, and it was an unforgettable experience: a wonderful, special time spent with family in such a beautiful location. I video blogged the trip to try and keep the memories captured to remember in years to come.
The family holiday came accompanied by two big announcements:
1. Becoming An Uncle (Again)
My brother and his wife, and their two beautiful children, are adding to their family with another one. And later in the year, I got to help them make a special announcement about it...
2. My Sister's Engagement
And the second big announcement was that my sister got engaged!
Two of my very best friend's a simply the most adorable little baby in to the world, and every time I see them together, my heart swells with pride and love for them all: I couldn't be happier. I wrote a song for her, on the day of her birth, and Emma writes the most incredibly honest, funny and frank blog about what it's like being an expectant, and then new, mum.
UK Music Award
As a result of the successful M-Tech bid, I was nominated by Solent University for the UK Music ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music’ award. It was an honour to be nominated amongst other high achieving new graduates.
Starting a Blog
Finally, in 2016 I started this blog. As I wrote about in October, I started this blog as a way of creating and releasing music that was better for my mental health. And I'm so happy with what I've started to build. As this blog grows, and develops, it's been fun to explore what shape music can take when you remove the constraints of the old methods of production and consumption. I don't feel like I have any answers yet, but asking the questions has been reason enough on its own.
It started with Summer Shorts...
Moving on to Autumn Pieces...
And finishing the year with Vlogmas.
So, to finish, I come back to the theme of 2016: finding comfort amidst the confusion. With all that has happened this year, I have tried to learn to bring myself more fully in to each moment, to enjoy and take comfort in friends and family, and to be a little kinder to myself. What did you learn in 2016?