16 February 2017

Chapter 41 – The strange of the day

So in the last chapter I confessed to being a bit of a pot head during this period. Smoking weed changes your mental state and I found it enabled me to withdraw from the reality of my situation a little. On paper I had it all going on; I was a young artist with the world at her fingertips but behind the scenes I had a lot of issues regarding what lay ahead. First and foremost I was still very much afraid of what being a major label artist would mean and I battled with it constantly. There was no chance of being a left-field niche artist with Sony, they were mainstream and they meant business. I could see my label mates in the public eye, I could hear them on the radio and I could see them in Heat Magazine – being photographed with their skirts tucked in the back of their knickers … that will be me … I’m always getting my skirt caught in the back of my knickers.

If I blew up liked Sony hoped I would, I would be a household name and my life as I knew it would drastically change. I realise that might be a dream come true for some people but come on … think about it … and I mean really think about it. Regardless of how much money you made from it, would you really want that? Because I didn’t. I really didn’t. I didn’t want to be recognised on the street. I didn’t want the skeletons in my closet exposed for all to see. I didn’t want to be photographed in my joggers buying loo roll and I didn’t want my personal relationships to be affected. I didn’t want my life to become a circus. PLUS I was also becoming acutely aware of the push and pull in regards to the music … there seemed to be a definite chasm between the music I loved creating, and the music Sony loved me singing. All these fears kept me up at night, and this is why I smoked weed. But I chose to do this so I carried on moving forward, and in the meantime cannabis provided me with a safety blanket. It didn’t make any of my fears go away, but it enabled me to hide from them … if only for a while.

Most of the producers I worked with weren’t big tokers (as far as I was aware) but there was one producer in particular who andy and I worked with for quite sometime – let’s just call him Buzby. Buzby was an awesome human being. A lovely, warm funny talented producer to boot. He’d had a lot of success with some big well known bands so I was really excited and nervous about working with him. However, within minutes we were rolling fatties and giggling like school friends. We had some great times with Buzby, and we recorded some great songs including one titled ‘Strange of the day’ which was about, coincidentally, smoking weed. These weren’t always the most productive of sessions as you can imagine. Sometimes the three of us would spend AGES in a hazy state of mind working on just one section of a song … which can have a detrimental affect … as overthinking and ‘perfecting’ can sometimes lead to removing the character from something altogether. A valuable lesson I learned years later was it’s often the mistakes and imperfections that can give a song it’s character and that ‘special something.’  Which is evident in old records, as back then artists recorded straight onto tape, warts ‘n’ all. There was no hiding behind auto-tune, just sheer talent and a real ‘performance.’ With technology as it is today, it’s easy, and tempting to iron the life out of something – but inevitably those songs end up having as much character as an old grey dog turd. We are human after all, and the best music reflects that.

As for the weed, it was a good few years before we decided enough was enough. When you’re young it’s easy to lose yourself in things that are bad for us … we tell ourselves we’ve got time to get healthy in our thirties but this was taking it’s toll on us, not to mention our bank account. There’s a lot of info on the addictive nature of cannabis, and many claim it’s not an addictive substance. That may be true for some, but personally I found it extremely addictive, and when I did finally quit my reaction was pretty extreme – I had to sleep on towels because I’d sweat so much though the night I’d soak the bed through (I know, gross right?) I also couldn’t eat, at all … and I love eating. We bought all my favourites but everything I ate came back up and even the smell of food made me physically sick and I lost a stone in weight in under two weeks (and that’s the honest truth). I don’t know anyone else who had a similar experience getting off weed. Do you? It was a horrible time.

That said, don’t get me wrong, this is not me saying ‘Don’t smoke weed kids, it’s bad‘ … you need to make your own history and there’s enough info out there for you to make your own informed decision on such things. To be honest, I loved smoking weed. I loved the buzz, and the way of life that went along with it. But unfortunately, like anything that’s potentially bad for you, there’s always a price if you don’t have a handle on it. In the meantime I had a lot more sessions ahead … and the next one was with Grammy winner producer Martin Terefe and songwriter Nick Whitecross.