Jackie McLean of the indie band Roan Yellowthorn grants us an inside look at the making of an album from start to finish in her ‘Breaking The Record’ column.
‘Rediscovered’ – Roan Yellowthorn
It’s been 8 months since I recorded my new album. And it won’t come out for another 6. The time has gone by faster than I thought it would. But, today, I’m struggling.
It feels at once as if the release is a long way away and as if the pressure is mounting. I feel like I need to be doing more than I am. I want to be able to control the outcome of everything and the trajectory. I feel like I need to be doing something. But I’m not sure what.
Just jumping into the Breaking The Record series documenting the making of our album from start to finish? Read part 1
I have an idea for one of the music videos. It’s a pretty low-fi idea and it should be relatively easy to film on my own. But I haven’t had the chance to do it yet. I still need to get photos done for the album and PR. We need to get some administrative things worked out. There are things that need to happen. But they haven’t happened yet. And it want everything to just be done and ready and good to go and complete. Because I really want to release this album. I want everything to be lined up. I want all of the ducks to be in a row. I want to know exactly what will happen. And I want it to happen now.
I guess you could say that this feeling is anxiety.
I do feel anxious. I feel anxious because I care a lot about this. And I want it to go the way I envision it going. You only have one chance to release an album. Once it’s out, it’s out. I want to give this album the best chance it can have to be what it wants to be in the world. To be heard.
I have this thing that I struggle with. It’s probably not a unique thing. I’m sure other people struggle with it, too. But it’s a thing where I feel like everything I do, because I’m the one doing it, isn’t good enough.
I don’t judge anyone else this harshly. I think that, in general, I find beauty in other people and things. I love people and experiences, in general, because of the beauty – expected and unexpected – to be found. But when it comes to me I don’t feel this way. This extends from the way I see myself as a person to the way that I view my own artistic creations.
I have this idea that anything that comes from me is inherently lacking. Like it can’t possibly measure up. Like I can’t. And this feeling is crippling sometimes. Especially with my music, when I’m putting so much of myself outside of myself, the feeling makes things more difficult.
It causes me to feel shame – about myself and about my creations. I feel self conscious. Worried that I’ll be judged. That people will ridicule or reject or, even worse, infinitely worse, that people will be just completely indifferent. That I’ll feel invisible – unheard, unseen, and alone.
It’s difficult to put myself through this. But I want to do it, in part because I want to prove to myself that I’m wrong. I want to prove to myself that the deepest parts of me can be accepted. I want to prove to myself that I can be seen and heard. That my contributions can be valued. That I can be valued.
But I don’t know what it will take for me to feel that way. I worry that nothing will really prove it to me. I fear that what the new age psychologists say is true – that no amount of external validation will make a difference if I don’t believe, myself, that I am worthy. Worth time and effort and attention. But how do I get to that point where I believe it?
I don’t know. And so here I am – waiting for my album to come out. But, more than that, waiting for this feeling of anxious, self-conscious uncertainty to pass.
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? © Jackie McLean
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