Music and I go way back. As an impressionable 12-year-old, I would lie on the living room floor, my head between the speakers, listening to Mum’s vinyl collection. I dreamed of playing in a band, and wanted nothing more than a life filled with music.
During my first ten years as a teacher (2001-2010), I moonlighted as a musician. Music had a way of bringing out my creative best and triggered a mindset filled with possibilities. I went on to record an EP with a band, and two full-length solo albums, the first of which I was able to give a mini world tour. During this time, it was the songwriting I enjoyed most. Songwriting allowed a quiet creative space in which meaningful expression could be made.
And then came children.
The pressures of parenting and full-time teaching meant that music had to give. I was too busy and too tired to be writing and playing until the early hours of the morning. The decision was made to “hang up” the keyboard and microphone. Music was to take a backseat for the next few years. It was to be squeezed in between cries and tantrums; a hasty clutch at sanity.
‘Eyes’ from my first album ‘Starlight Avenue’ (2007).
—video no longer available—
Now in my second year away from full-time teaching, I recently experienced the joy of setting up a record player in my home office. Boy, was it a good move. As a writer of children’s books, anything that captures the essence of my younger self is a good thing. By setting up a record player, I’ve been able to tap in to the feelings and possibilities of childhood – a creative renaissance, as such.