Being creative is in our blood. No matter what we do for a living, whether a stockbroker, builder, teacher or singer we all have an innate desire to be creative and use our imagination. Sometimes I think of the people in history who have created incredible things — musicians such as Elvis Presley, painters such as Van Gogh — and they all have something in common. They used their art as a way of expressing their personalities while dealing with personal struggles, and tackling subjects that meant something to them.
No matter what level of fame or success has been reached, thousands of artists and composers (myself included) suffer from issues such as anxiety and depression, and it is almost always an art-form that we turn to, to express these issues; we create in order to heal, soothe and be released.
As a late teen, when my insomnia was at its worst, I used to think ‘If I can write a song tonight, it won’t matter that I didn’t sleep, because something wonderful will have come out of it.’ — I try to think in this mindset when I can; If I can use struggles or sadness to channel creativity, and connect with other people who may be in the same situation, then I think that’s a powerful thing.
Having grown up an anxious and highly sensitive child, I often felt somewhat like an outsider to my peers. I loved to be social and was always the clown of the party in school years, but I felt like a foreigner at the same time — something I’d never have discussed or admitted. Over the years I kept hearing the same thing said to me: sensitive and intuitive minds create meaningful and expressive art. (When I say ‘Art’ here, I mean everything from painting portraits to poetry writing.) Hearing this said out loud made me feel one step closer to being at peace with myself, and more willing to use my over-active mind and imagination to my advantage: to create songs and poems that have the capacity to touch other people in a meaningful way, and build connections with those who listen.
Creating music allows me to share and connect with other people in a way that is simply impossible if not for the art… — when someone listens to something I have written, I truly feel that they are learning something about me that they’d otherwise never have known. In turn they may feel accepted and understood, if they relate to the story. It’s all in the lyrics. Poetry has a way of making you feel and understand things in a profound way, and there are really no barriers. As Leonardo da Vinci famously put it: “The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands…” I think this is how every artist, composer or creator feels.
Although we do make and create things when we feel a need to express or heal, I think it’s important to realise that creativity works in mysterious ways. We cannot always be in the right state to readily create something. I believe that, similar to plants or flowers, creativity blossoms under the right conditions. Too much pressure on ourselves to produce something will just stump our growth! I’ve spent so many days forcing myself to write something meaningful and it just won’t happen for me, for whatever reason. I become frustrated and even angry that my sole means of self-expression can be so temperamental… But fighting it only makes it more difficult. It’s like that scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, at the finale when the three wizards are fighting with the angry ‘Devil’s Snare’ plant that is trying to strangle them. All they needed to do to escape was completely relax and stop wrestling with it. (I find so many real-life situations that relate to this scene!) The more patient we are with ourselves, and the more time we allow ourselves to take, the more expressive and special the works of art will end up.
As humans, all we really want in life is to be understood. I mean, we want a lot of other things too, but being understood and accepted are two very important things to us all. When we create art, we are saying to the world, ‘This is me, this is what makes me unique, and this what I would like to say.’ And we just hope that everyone gets it. What I am trying to do, as I grow up and learn more and more about life, is realise that we really are all contributing our bit into the world with the things that we create, and our words, ideas and shared thoughts will never go unnoticed.
You can watch the music video for Tally’s brilliant single ‘Days Like These’ below: