2021 – A Year of ‘Creative Silence’

It has got to the stage of the year, with just over a week left of 2021, where my mind naturally slips into reflective mode. Annoying it seems to do this at the least convenient of times, usually in the middle of the night with a looming morning alarm. Last night was one of those nights where I not only found myself thinking about the past year, but really about the past decade having been reminded by facebook that 2022 will mark 10 years since responding to an invitation to take on a job role that has continued to have significant impact on my life (largely positive) to this day.

Not wanting to bore you too much I’ll leave most of my reflections to the watches of the night, but here are some of my reflections on the past 12 months:

I came into the year with a lot of enthusiasm for the various creative expressions of life. Despite all of its challenges the previous year had brought an abundance of opportunity, or even necessity, to create! Hours spent at the desk each week editing videos or producing songs for various pre-recorded church services gave rise to some creative momentum that dragged to completion some solo creative projects (with the help of my friend Mark Goslett) as well as some slightly more budget-sounding but equally fun Through The Waters music.

All this meant that the start of 2021 saw the release of lots of new music, but by mid-February it felt like the breaks had well and truly been applied moving from London and starting a new incredibly exciting but almost all-consuming role here in Chatham, Kent. As I look back on this year I am frustrated that there wasn’t more opportunity to ride the wave of momentum and make more of the opportunities that putting out new music provides (there were a few release dates that I forgot about until the day itself), but in reality although there is some frustration it’s hard to know what, if anything, we would have changed. 

Even if there was something glaringly obvious that I’d like to go back and change about this past year this isn’t a luxury that any of us are afforded so instead I will have to be content with acknowledging the good (even amongst the challenges) and remain committed to learning from the less good.

So although I carry frustration at missed opportunities and lost momentum, ultimately I am resigned to the fact that 2021 shall be filed as a year of ‘Creative Silence’. I have always believed that creativity and creative gifts are treasures to be nurtured and invested in; a little bit like muscles that need to be stretched and even pushed beyond comfort to really grow and strengthen. In reality this hasn’t been a season where I’ve felt the capacity to exercise much of my creativity at all. If I’m honest this admission comes with a fair amount of guilt because deep down I know that only I’m responsible for the pursuits I’ve found time for and those I haven’t.

Again, creativity is not unlike physical exercise; the longer you’ve been away from the gym the harder it is to go back (coming from the person who once paid for a year’s gym membership and went along four times)! With each day I’ve found it harder to think about where I would even start writing a new song, or sharing something about creativity on social media, writing a blog post or recording a video. 

Does this mean I’m ready to cancel my membership and count my losses? No, not yet because something deep inside me still longs to create, wants to find new lyrics and chord progressions that give expression to what I feel inside. I believe I’ve still got something (or maybe even more than one thing) to say and that somewhere buried inside I’ve got the means to say it, but I recognise that the lack of creative exercise and discipline leaves me starting further back even than I was 12 months ago. 

2021 has been a year of many things for many people, and in the scheme of things a blip of creativity features way down on a list of hardships and if anything is a symptom of my manifold blessings, but I do hope that in the sleepless nights of reflection in a year’s time I will be able to feel more at peace that I have made better use of the wonderful gift of creativity. Bring on 2022 (although to be fair I think I may have said that about 2020 and look where that got us).

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY, CREATIVE NEW YEAR! 

Luke x

‘Songs From Around The House’

During these strange times of lockdown as the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, like many others I’ve been attempting to share some joy and hope.

As regularly as possible I’m going to record a song from a different location in the house. To be honest I’m surprised how little time I’ve had to do this but so far I’ve managed three songs from three different locations (Dining Room, Stairs and Garage*). You can catch up will all of them so far on YouTube.

Here is the latest one:

*if you’ve got suggestions for the next location then let me know 🙂

Disappearing Songs … An Explanation

Last year I set out to record and release a song every month. As mentioned in my last post (almost a year ago) I fell slightly short of my target but was still really pleased with the outcome. I originally uploaded the songs onto SoundCloud but essentially they were pretty raw – some of them quite rushed.

So, to cut a long story short I’ve decided to take them down from SoundCloud, to do a bit more work on them (with the help of some good friends), and then to release the five of them (oops 5 out of 12 doesn’t sound too great) as an EP.

I’ll let you know when the EP will be out, but before then I’m planning to release a single, ‘Perfect Day For Sunshine’ – a song I wrote over a decade ago and for a long time has been one of the most personal and vulnerable songs I’ve had the privilege of sharing with the world.

Anyway, I’ll keep you updated. If you’re feeling slightly bereft by the disappearing music you can always listen to my first EP while you wait patiently.

I’ll be in touch soon.

Luke x

A Song For Any Month From April – ‘Cliché’

So it turns out that finishing a degree, moving house, starting a new ‘job’, having two children (and I’m sure there are some other excuses I could throw in) aren’t really that conducive to my attempt to record a song each month. As you may or may not have noticed, my ‘song per month’ has been on hold since May (when I belatedly put out April’s song). Thanks to those who got in touch asking about new songs…

…so, without further ado here is the next song…’Cliché’. I must have started writing this  at least fifteen years ago when I still held aspirations of being the next big RnB sensation (think Usher or Craig David) so if it sounds a little different from some of my other stuff that might be why. Enjoy 🙂

EP Release

Very late song for April – ‘Paint Over The Cracks’

For the first three months of 2018 I just about managed to record a song each month. April on the other hand was a slightly different matter. Mostly due to a dissertation thankfully submitted at the beginning of May and a fantastic week away, I’ve only just finished off ‘April’s’ song.

This is another song that I wrote years ago. It was very literally inspired by a place I used to work that didn’t seem to realise that any number of new coats of paint wouldn’t disguise the fact that it was in a bit of a mess.

Anyway, here is ‘Paint Over The Cracks’. Enjoy…

EP Release

Song for March – ‘Maybe Love’

So here’s my song for March. Worryingly they seem to be getting later and later each month – doesn’t bode well for the rest of the year!

This is another song I wrote a while ago – probably about ten years to be precise(ish).

EP Release

A little about the song: Without wanting to go into too much detail, the motivation behind this song was seeing adverts on TV, in newspapers and on magazines showing starving children in areas of poverty and depravation. I didn’t really have the words for it at the time but I was frustrated that although I felt the tug on my heartstrings, this very rarely led to me doing anything about it. There is something deeply dehumanising about these images and the sympathy that they often stir is never really going to change the world. Maybe love will…

Enjoy 🙂

‘Time’ – A Love Song For February

With almost 4 hours to spare, here is my song for this month and my second in the series of ’12 songs in 12 months’! As February is a month synonymous with love and romance (I think), I’ve taken the liberty of recording a song I wrote for my wife way back before we were married.

‘TIME’ is a shameless love song all about the strangeness of falling in love and the way it really messes with your sense of time…or at least it did for me…am I the only one?

EP Release

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the song. Maybe you could share it with someone you love?

New Year, New Song – ‘Stop Holding On’

Almost a year ago today I sat in my living room making a list of the things I wanted to achieve in 2017. Needless to say, I made fairly mixed progress on the list: I still haven’t been surfing (that’s been on the list for two years in a row). Another thing that was on the list last year is that I wanted to record and ‘release’ a new song every month.

Although 12 months later than planned, I’ve decided to carry over this aim into 2018! I’m going to start with some of the songs that I’ve already written but haven’t had a chance to record, and as the year progresses I’ll try to get back into the habit of writing too.

So here is January’s offering…’STOP HOLDING ON’ seemed an apt place to start the New Year. I wrote this song almost 18 months ago back in the summer of 2016 and have played it live a handful of times since then.

EP Release

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the song and would love this whole ’12 songs in 12 months*’ thing to be as interactive as possible, so if you’ve got any ideas or feedback it would be great to hear from you.

Enjoy.

Much love,

Luke 🙂

*sorry, I know this is far from original.

Emmanuel…God Is With Us Now!

This Christmas more so than ever I was struck by the amazing reality of ‘Emmanuel, God with us!’ So much so that I couldn’t help but write a song about the incredible reality that The Word through whom all things came into being humbly stepped into the world that He had made (John 1).

 

Even though Christmas has been and gone the truth remains that God has made Himself known to us and creation will never be the same!

All Change Please…(who knew so much could change in a year?!)

So it turns out that I’m really bad at getting round to writing new blog posts, but after far too many months here goes…

I don’t know about you, but for me the month of August always triggers a fair amount of personal reflection. As  I look back on the last 12 months, the word that comes to mind is CHANGE! It’s only when I sat down and started to think about it that I began to realise quite how much has changed over the past year.

The most significant and exciting of all the changes that have happened has been becoming a father. Almost a year in and every day contains new wonders, new lessons and new depths of love.

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During the past year I also moved on from my first ‘proper job’. When I left back Tunbridge Wells YFC back in February I was 3 months short of completing 6 years with the charity.  By the end of this month I will have also left my position at Christ Church (between May 2012 and February 2015 I shared my time between the two).

And finally, this week we moved out of our house in Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells and now find ourselves in a little village (or Hamlet according to Wikipedia) just west of Cambridge. In total I lived in Tunbridge Wells for around 14 and a half years which is over double the time I have spent in any other single town or city.

So with all of these changes going on(and plenty others that I won’t bore you with right now), music has taken a back seat. I’ve had the amazing privilege of leading worship at a number of events and churches and have played the occasional gig but haven’t spent anywhere near as much time as I would have liked writing or working on my own music. With a new year (at least in the world of academia) and a long list of new opportunities ahead I am more passionate than ever about unwrapping the incredible gift of music and exploring more of its ability to connect us to something bigger than ourselves.

If the past year was the year of CHANGE, I would like to be bold and suggest that the year ahead could be the year of MUSIC…x