James FRANKLIN - MUSIC AND ARTS
"My name is James Franklin and I’m a full-time musician from Melbourne. Ever since I was 15, I dedicated all of my time to music. I would miss out on parties, sports games, and even other concerts just to stay home and practice. When I left school, I spent every weekday emailing, planning, and speaking to people in the industry, then every weekend I’d go out and play gigs.
Now with the COVID lockdown, I find myself with no income and no gigs. It’s scary, for a few reasons. One of those being that I struggled to find motivation when lockdown began. I searched all four walls of my house for more inspiration but nothing came to me. After weeks of torturing myself, by forcing creativity only to be left despondent when I came up with nothing, I let myself take a break. I have indeed been on holiday over the last few years, taken a week or two off here and there, but I have always kept replying to emails, taking important calls and planning, in my head, my future in music. I was not just someone who played music, I was ONLY someone who played music. So over the past 2 months, I set out to learn more about myself and treat myself as more of a human than a ‘brand’. It was incredibly scary because as just a ‘normal person’, I felt vulnerable. But slowly and surely, I found myself getting interested in things outside of music. I was reading more, skateboarding again, studying other subjects (which is mind-boggling to me because I hated all aspects of school) and in a myriad of ways, I was becoming more of a whole person.
If there’s any advice I can give to other musicians, especially young musicians who were like me in their teenage years, it would be that - there is a life beyond music and being a musician - and that’s a bitter pill to swallow. I get it. I look at my idols like Prince and Michael Jackson and see how they seem to have been constantly creating and perfecting. So, if I’m not doing that, I feel angry and disappointed in myself, I get scared that I’m not as dedicated or that I am even undeserving of any success if I don’t sacrifice my entire life to the musical cause. But I knew that taking a real break was something I had to do.
Therefore, I stopped thinking about music. I had no idea when I was going to return, I had no plans except to just stop, at least for the length of the pandemic. But now, two months later, I find myself extremely inspired, I find myself with a clearer vision of the paths I want to take, I find myself putting more honesty into my songs and most of all, I feel revitalised and more connected to my music than ever. This seems to be a confirmation of the fact that it is superfluous to never take breaks and that it is the lessons you learn within those breaks that will ‘upgrade’ you as a writer/musician."