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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Living in a Maverick Town.

Let's revise: 1. I believe in myself, 2. I enjoy the journey, and 3. I live with the theory of abundance.

I discovered the importance of the word "Journey" and not so much about the word "Destination" when I got out of my safe comfort zone and began to travel.

One day I got the gumption to get on a plane. In April 1996 I traveled from Sydney in search of the holy grail, and arrived in Los Angeles. Foreign, un-traversed soil. When I first arrived here I knew no one, except for my uncle, who knew no one in the music industry. I had about $300 to last me, well, at least six months. How idealistic I was. Idealism saved me though, because if I had even thought for a moment about the reality of my situation I would have been doomed. The first person I met, on that very first day I arrived, was a cute, tall, blond part Cherokee Indian heart throb called Jimmy Marcey. He was the first person who believed in me in L.A, and he began to duplicate my little demo, and tell me all the wonderful things that this town could offer. We drank lots of coffee really, and he was a great kisser. But I was on a mission. I searched for the epicenter of the music industry. For me it was on Sunset Boulevard, at the National Academy of Songwriters (NAS). I met other songwriters like myself, and brushed shoulders with Lionel Ritchie, Diane Warren, Joni Mitchell, Lieber and Stoller and artists I never even heard about but who were famous, all within the first month of being here.

I had put together a five song demo in Sydney that was produced by a motley of producers that all thought they could define a sound for me. I didn't think I knew enough to listen to my own opinion, so I always sought out other people's opinions as to what would be right for me as an artist. How could I know anything? I'm just a girl from the 'bush' (country girl).

My first attempt at securing my music career was so half hearted. After 3 months in L.A I then went to New York, with five songs, all different in style, with no common thread except for my vocal, which really wasn't showcased at it's best. But the music was so..... atrocious. I'm surprised they didn't throw me out by my ear. But I was determined though, and strong. Determination was my birth name. I had grown up on a rugged mountain, I could take on anything, right? Fortunately (whether it was my Aussie accent or my assertive voice, I don't know) I was able to meet with at least six top A&R execs between the East and West Coast, in person, within a day of calling them, simply by saying I had flown all the way from down-under to meet them. Who would not let you in? I met them, barely knew what an A&R rep did, showed them my lame CD of five songs (In 1996, a burnable CD cost $50 each alone so I asked them to give it back to me at the end of the meeting....) and waited eagerly in front of them their response while they listened. I figured, if I got off my butt and flew all this way, dressed right, had attitude, showed determination, then they could discover my undiscovered talent and, well, sign me as a developing artist. I was convinced that I was their next "big thing". Right? Surely yes?.... Wrong.

Each of those A&R execs were, in their pleasant way, able to swiftly cut me down to size. Perhaps they noticed the talent. Some expressed that. But the music was not right. Too eclectic, style too wishy washy, too cross over, too... well, just not what they were looking for. I was a diamond in the rough that they were just not willing to take on. Every single one of them asked me, "Gilli, what is it that you want?" I could not answer this question. I didn't know enough to give them the right response. I couldn't just say, "I want to be famous!" That wasn't true anyway. Well fame is nice. But I just wanted to be out there. How do you describe that intangible ambition in words without sounding embarrassing or egotistical? But the truth is, I didn't know what I really wanted then.

They were right about my music. As much as I had spent money on getting these songs produced, the problem was that none of those songs truly captured who I was... what I was about. I was on Madison Avenue in New York for gods sakes! I had to be perfect, right? To make this demo, I had allowed other anonymous producers (with all due respect, very talented in their own rights) to whip up my songs in a way that was not me. I never spent enough time allowing them to discover who I was, as an artist, and as a person. I didn't even know who I was! Remember, I was still in my thirty year childhood phase. I was twenty-seven. Not a baby. But I felt like a complete ignoramus.

Everyone was proud of my expedition though. I had done a whirl-wind business trip on $300 (that's Australian dollars) and met everyone in town, all in 3 months. The word "networking" was just getting trendy, and I was definitely into it. I even had an email address. I paid $60/month through Compuserve for a 9600 dial up connection! Not many people had email back then, in 1996. I had already begun to feel the power of the Internet, before the Internet had power.

I went back home to Sydney at the end of October 1996 with loads of business cards... but no business. What to do? Simply.... move back to Los Angeles, the Mecca of the music business, as I was told, and stay a while. Right? So 2 months of just having landed back in Oz, I was back on Hollywood's doorstep. Don't ask me how I organized that one! I worked my butt off in Sydney and packed everything up in the little cabin on my parents' property, and off I went again... determined.

This time, I had come back to L.A with knowing at least 5 people. Much safer, no? Early 1997, I began helping out an old family friend around the house, nannying her children, and earned my keep, down at her beach shack. I love to rollerblade, so it was a perfect spot down near the Venice Beach boardwalk. I found a lawyer, started work visa proceedings and went back to the NAS to volunteer and watch. I found a manager, Marci Kenon, the second person to believe in my talent in L.A. I met Marci at the NAS. Marci is a beautiful and savvy African American who organized showcases around town and felt I had a winner with my kind of cross-over pop/R&B songs. At the time, she was involved in pushing R&B to a culture I just wasn't the right color for. But if George Michael could do it, so could I. I remember being one of only two white girls in a full African American R&B/Hip Hop showcase for the NAS in Burbank. They clapped and cheered when I sang my song This Life We Live" to a backing track and I did a whole four minute dance routine while performing in my full white suit. A small artist owned record company, Drama! Music, were putting together their first trip-hop electronica album "Lust" and they saw my performance (I guess they saw the diamond in the rough as a positive thing) and invited me to sing their song "You Belong To Me" for their album. This song went on to be my first single, and my first claim to any notion of fame outside my homeland. It hit No.1 on a Belgian radio station and I thought all my Christmases had come at once. At least it looked good on paper. I wasn't sure how all that was supposed to translate to sales and an income. Income? What was that?

But it still wasn't something that I had created from my heart. I still was seeking other people's approval and advice.

Slowly, slowly I began to attract an audience who liked my music. I started performing downstairs at the old Luna Park, the Troubadour, The Gig on Pico and many cafes all became my local joints. The gigs were heating up and the venues were turning over, so too were my band members. It was hard to find players who could play for free or little money. And then, you were left with the 'green ones' who had enthusiasm but couldn't play for pits. But I was pretty fortunate. My musos became close friends, so we all got on famously, even when we parted. To this day I often bring some back for a paid studio session in thanks for that era. Some are still with me. All of a sudden a journalist called Bernard Baur, the third person in L.A to believe in me, wrote an awesome review in Music Connection on one of my Luna Park shows, and when I opened the paper and read the review I burst out crying. Soon after I was listed in Music Connection's top 100 Unsigned Artists. I cried again, mostly joy, but with pain too. All the stress of living in a foreign city, alone, being broke everyday with not even a bank account, living out of a suitcase on someone's floor or in someone's closet and trying to make a name for myself at the same time, had taken a huge emotional toll. As much as seeing my name in print was a great remedy, it wasn't the answer.

I had yet to record anything of merit, that I liked or that anyone else proclaimed to like. I tried working with a producer or two, but never felt anything that seemed to represent who I was. My little home recorded 4 track versions gave me more solace. I could hear the passion in my own cheap demos. Why wasn't it coming out in the big studio?

I feared that I would only deliver again the "average" I had delivered before. What's that saying?

"The fear of not being good enough to measure up to your ambitions."

That's it. That was what I had. I had a bad case of the jitters.

My money had run out.

How could I possibly get a record deal if the music I was making was crap? Let alone the very fact that I couldn't work here, so my financial stability was zero. so, with a sob and a shrug, I packed up, stored my tapes, my beat up old '82 Honda Accord that barely made it around the block, and other stuff at Marci's house, and flew home to Sydney. But before I left I submitted a lengthy package to the INS in hope of securing work papers for the future. If the industry here wasn't ready to believe in me maybe the government would and give me a head start. That was April 1997.

Sydney was.... Easter time. That means bunny rabbits, delicious Cadbury chocolate I had missed so much, and a plethora of things to do in what seemed like an outback town. No I mean it. Sydney was Los Angeles five years ago... no ten years ago. The final frontier. But all of a sudden I could see so much of what I could do back home. It was like a fire had been lit in my belly and I had all this amazing energy. I immediately fell back on to what I had been doing before, producing events (I paid my bills by being a Corporate Event Producer), and helped produce the huge Light Rail (tram) launch down in the inner city of Sydney, a few car launches and some award nights. That same moment, with pen to paper, I devised the creation of Songsalive!, which in a matter of months became an instigated non-profit organization supporting, nurturing and promoting Australian songwriters.

I was motivated to start Songsalive! when I was living in Sydney, Australia and I noticed how limited the opportunities were for original music to be played in venues. In 1997 Australia was still a "covers scene" with pubs and clubs primarily playing artists who would play standards and the latest hits. It was rare to find a place where you could get paid to play your own songs. Still is really. I also realized that being a songwriter can be lonely. It's a solitary experience: we write our songs mostly on our own and we go through our journey as artists mainly on our own, discovering the ways in which to get out there. I felt that if we had a "force", an umbrella to reach out to music organization and become a link in the chain for songwriters, then we could provide opportunity, exposure, support and promotion. Songwriters are the least considered in the music business. This is a known fact, but never really talked about. We get the short-end of the stick when it comes to writer deals, any exposure or recognition. Yet without the song, there is no music industry. I feel it's important to recognize the songwriter and provide them support. I put a group together in Sydney to discuss the idea of building Songsalive! as a non-profit organization and I received great support. I kicked it off with co-founder Roxanne Kiely and a group of 5 of us with showcases and workshops and we launched the small organization in Aug 97 with a huge 20 band celebration at the Sydney Hard Rock Cafe. It is interesting to say now, that since 1997 Songsalive! has gone on to become the largest songwriters organization in the world. We have over 17 chapters in Australia, the U.S and Canada. I've been pretty busy! If I died today I would be happy due to the life I brought to Songsalive! and the opportunities Songsalive! and it's network bring to writers, now worldwide. Besides, it's selfish to assume that the music industry, or any art industry, should be based on your own career alone. Art is about giving and providing for others.

So, back to '97. I jumped into the Sydney recording studios once again (what I had done pre-L.A, yet back then poorly) and in months I came up with a fourteen song "business card" called Girl in the Moon. Girl was essentially another calling card, and I didn't want to sell it as an album because even after spending months collating the masters and recording new songs, I just didn't think it was good enough. What was wrong with me??? What's that saying again? "The fear of not being good enough to measure up to your ambitions." I need to remind myself of that one as I write because it will be the focus of my conclusion later. So I made enough Girl CDs to travel and promote with, all packed in flat cardboard sleeves. The songs were a compilation of recordings I had done pre-L.A, some from my time in L.A, and a couple of newies I produced myself over at Velvet Studios, in downtown Sydney. I learned much during that time with some musician friends about reworking songs so they would be catchy, and getting a good feel and vibe in production. But I never treated this album as a real album. It was another mish mash of ideas again, very eclectic. Only last year did I finally decide that this was a real album, worthy to be sold. 9 years after making Girl in the Moon I am pleased to say that I am "re-releasing" it.

As much as it was nice to be back in Sydney, the challenge was still yet to come for me. With my renewed strength, fuelled by the very fact that I was able to achieve mighty things at home, I packed up once again and on the 1st January 1998 (New Year's in the plane!) my Songsalive! co-hort, Roxanne, and I both landed in L.A. I showed her around like a pig in mud and then in January we went to Midem, Cannes, the huge international music convention in France. It was an amazing experience, wandering the booths one after the other, hocking your music to every publisher, recording company and music organization there is. This was a civilized market bazaar. "Come here, buy this... only fifty dollar! Last forever!" I got my bug for music conferences at Midem. Since then I went back 3 times, and have pretty much attended most conferences in the U.S, even produced one for Songsalive! But more of that later.

I went back to Los Angeles after Midem, and a quick trip to London, empty handed, kissing Rox goodbye as she flew back to Sydney to handle the home fires with Songsalive! So. It's February 1998. Hollywood. I was once again living in a shoe box. This time, on a photographer friend's couch with even more suitcases (great headshots out of that time and boy he was a great kisser too!) I had somehow begun to accumulate suitcases, now stored across town in various garages and closets. Each time I came here I was hoarding stuff for some future "I live here" purpose but always lived like a transient. (Can you believe it, now nine years later and I have a house full of stuff, like I've been here all my life... how we are so attached to things!)

Anyway, back to February 98. I was a little unsettled coming back to L.A because I kind of didn't have a purpose, except that I felt I needed to be here and continue the journey. The rest of my story, my life and this book will focus a lot about the word "JOURNEY". Back at this time, however, I wasn't cognizant of the importance of this word. It was always about the DESTINATION, some future arrival of being.

I got back into gig mode really quickly in Los Angeles and was surprised that even though I had been away really for about 7 months, that the clubs still remembered me. I left the friend's couch and moved in to the slums of Beverly Hills, with a fellow muso room mate, Michael Sherwood, who's brother was in the band 'Yes' and who had adorable white cats with loads of fur, nicely covering everything I owned. I say the 'slum's' because it was the south side of Pico, heading toward the 10 freeway, so it's kind of on the edge. Also, I think the movie "Slums of Beverly Hills" must have been filmed in my street. It had the same 70s retro run down feel about it with the occasional BMW in the neighbor's driveway. I lived in a room that was about 10 feet by 10 feet, but at least I had my own bathroom. I didn't need much room. Just enough for a bed and my keyboard. I was making zero money, the INS denied my work visa and all I could do was hug my little keyboard every night hoping things would turn out all right. But in true Gilli fashion I managed to do a hundred things at once to keep moving forward and up.

I started Songsalive! in L.A. Why not? Seemed to be a good way to share with like-minded songwriters and I discovered that people began to knock on my doors instead of me constantly hoping a door would open elsewhere. I began by hosting songwriting workshops which started in my 10 x 10 room in the shared house and eventually we moved to the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. My gigs were heating up once again and reviews were even coming in from my Girl in the Moon album which even though was not for sale, was circulating on the Web. I began my online diary. I was one of the first to start an online diary. Now it's called a blog. But it means the same thing. I was totally into the Internet. I created my own webpage which was as long as something like this
http://www.compuserve.com/mypages/gillianswebpage.html. You won't find that exact page on the web but it was ridiculously long. Early 1998 and I I got the bug to surf the Net. I joined mp3.com which was really the only official website where you could upload your songs to the internet. They even paid you for downloads back then for a short time. Then, when they attracted thousands upon thousands of artists, they realized they couldn't afford to pay for every single download, so the checks stopped coming. But the reviews kept on coming, and my website had lots of nice things to say about the music that didn't say much about me, but still I was happy.

I attended as many songwriter open mics and showcases as possible and began to know the little entrepreneurs who ran them, thus increasing my inner circle of songwriters within the Songsalive! umbrella. It was great finding kindred spirits. What was a complete shock to me was the NAS folded after twenty years, and I shed a tear in sadness for their past glories and also in happiness that I was able to be part of it, even if it was in their last phase. I had met some wonderful friends through the NAS including Marci, who was no longer managing me but we were good friends, Alan Roy Scott, who runs an awesome songwriting competition now called Unisong, Brett Perkins, who served as the NAS managing director in its last year and now runs the Listening Room Retreats, and John Braheny, the author of "The Craft and Business of Songwriting" and a must-have for anyone who is serious about their songwriting. I am friends with these people today. I am reminded that the music business is all about relationships, and even more so...great friendships.

At the time my lawyer thought it was a crying shame I didn't get a work visa for all the things I did, and the potential of who I could become, so he pitched for the visa again without a charging me more money (God bless his soul), and, wow, I was notified within a month that I was approved. All of a sudden, my vision opened up and I saw a bright U.S future. My destiny was secured. My dreams would come true. More importantly I could work.I could earn money. This made my struggle, well, struggless. So I started to do some office work, with an Australian ex-pat living in Northridge called Meredith Emmanuel, a brilliant public relations gal, the fourth person in L.A to believe in me. She became my new manager and we worked together in pitching me and then I would help pitch her films and projects. She had a lot of experience in the business having been married to and assisted Australia's renowned guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel, and then she was Frank Zappa's assistant for many years. Plus a string of other amazing experiences. It was a lot of fun, and it was great to work with another Aussie who could understand my lingo. (Really let's face it, Americans and Australians speak different languages.)

I then worked for another video company and soon I was working for myself designing web sites and cd art, which I continue to do to this day on the side. Throughout 1998 I was running on fire. While I had not much money (living on roughly $200 a week), had no music for release, and hence did not contact one record company, (how could I, I didn't have anything to show to the,?) I was, however, writing songs like nobody's business. Summer in July and August was great and my '82 Honda was still working even though I had replaced practically everything on it. The dark days were temporarily gone, and I had no reason to go home. Besides, going home meant going back in time, and I wasn't about to go back there when I could see far, far ahead.

But then again, I had no reason to stay. Or did I?

The gigs around town were fun and I started putting together my press pack which included everything I had done in L.A. I didn't realize how thick it would get. I was amazed at what I had really achieved without looking. I had performed a lot. One night we did this really cool show downstairs at Luna Park to a packed audience with Matt Lattanzi (Olivia Newton John's ex) on didgeridoo. Loads of fun. We hit the news in Sydney. That's all I could think about... "I wonder if people back home know what I'm doing now!" Australia's media king, Molly Meldrum wrote a short piece and Who (People) Magazine caught the Luna Park gig with a photo. I was happy. I guess you could say that there was a buzz. And I had created it. MTV television contacted me to be part of a new contest, so I appeared on The Cut singing an R&B type ballad, with my long beaded braids. I had certainly developed an interesting look. I had been shopping at Ralphs for my groceries one day and asked one of the check out girls if she braided hair (she was a beautiful African American with long braids). She said "oh, of course, my sisters and I do it all the time!". So one day I drove down to Compton in what seemed like the scariest part of the universe with not one white person in the area. I looked so out of place, and I got so many stares and even some snarls. The helicopters were always hovering. But I found the house, quite quaint really with a neatly mowed lawn by it's inhabitants, and stepped into the warmest house I'd ever been in. Four sisters were waiting and ready, combs, hair extensions and elastic bands in hand. they spent six hours braiding my hair which, when complete, fell down to my waste. It was a lot of fun, and certainly one of those days where I learned to never judge a book by its cover.

As timing would have it, a record company came along, offering me a deal. It was September 1998. They were the independent label, tribe Records. Helming tribe was producer Marco Dydo, the fifth person in L.A to believe in me. They wanted to record one, non-exclusive, concept record with me and I jumped at it. All I had wanted was a record deal. My whole life. THIS WAS IT. Finally, someone legit had come along to create for me, provide me the holy grail, make me a star.

No matter what, I couldn't go home or visit home, without a record deal. That was the promise to myself. Getting a deal would solve everything, I thought. It had become a symbol of my determination and ambition.

All I could think about was recording my music. I had been a frustrated artist all my life, wanting so much to record my music right. I was eager to start recording the album with tribe. The first reality call came when I realized I wasn't on the top of the list for getting into the studio. Being signed means also realizing there is an artist roster, with other artists also in the line of production... and I had to wait my turn. I had to wait. Again. I moved to the dusty, desert town of Palmdale in February 99 where the studio was, and ended up living there for a year. Palmdale is about an hour north-east from L.A, up in the high desert. Everyone kept saying, "why are you moving up there? It's so far away!" Well, for me it was a lot closer to things than Sydney was. I had a different perspective I guess.

By May 99 we had put some players together for a new band called Jessica Christ, and we started quietly in the coffee houses in the Valley to get us ready again for Hollywood. I worked hard developing the new band, and working with Marco on the Jessica Christ image and concept. I brought some of my old players, and tribe brought some new ones in to create a dynamic live band. I involved my dear friend Libby Lavella, another talented Aussie singer (and sixth person in L.A to believe in me), to sing up front with me. It was exciting to play a part, even though not my own, and to bring Marco's beloved project to life. Meanwhile, I had still not been able to get into the studio to record my record but I agreed to be part of the Jessica Christ album which featured various songs and artists. It was a true tribe project and I was delighted to be involved.

Recording what was to be the quintessential solo record for me, took a back seat while the Jessica Christ band came to life. All of a sudden I realized that my dream of being "signed' was an illusion. Not that it wasn't a bad experience. It was quite creative. But it wasn't my experience. Also, I was still waiting for someone else to make it happen for me. I was supposed to let the record company make all the decisions for me, wasn't I?

Living and working in Palmdale was an interesting experience, sometimes fulfilling, but mostly emotionally draining. I was still creatively frustrated. I had been this way before signing to the deal, and I was still, during the contract, very frustrated as I had yet to really put my music, my creativity, out to the world. I was also living alone in a lonely small town. All my life I had felt like I had to be patient, that one day "my turn would come." I had yet to realize my own potential as an artist, and as much as I had believers in me, I never really got to do it the way I wanted to do it. I was always waiting. I felt terribly frustrated, and very alone. It's no one's fault. I place no blame. As stated before, I had been living in a childhood dream for thirty years. Most of my perfect world was in my own imagination. I still had no money (flat broke), lived in scarcity, did not enjoy the moment at all (was dreaming of some future hope of joy, fame and fortune), and I did not believe in myself. I had a very poor concept about myself by now. My esteem was at the lowest it had ever been my whole life.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, my childhood dreaming ended at the turn of the century. I have to say that by the end of 1999, thirty years old, I came to a dead stop. This is where my old life ended and my new life began, through what you might call a major shift in consciousness.

In November 99, I went home to Sydney upset, drained, tired and wondering if my dreams of a record deal, of living and working in America, was all worth it. I had worked hard this far, and conquered many hurdles, to find that I still hadn't achieved this undetermined goal to success. But my internal self-doubt discussions were discarded when I had a much bigger issue to deal with. I discovered through a routine check up (the day before I was supposed to go back to L.A) that I was ill and had to go into to hospital for emergency surgery on my right ovary, which had developed a dermoid cyst the size of a football. They say Cysts are symbols of creative frustration, and of anger. I mulled over that for ages. I had to cancel my flight. I didn't even know it was there! How could I have overlooked a football in my abdomen? My doctor could not tell me if it was cancerous until they operated.

I had to wait ten days until the operation. Ten days is a long time when you don't know if you are terminally ill or just a quick fix with the knife. I had what you would call a "spiritual awakening." I discovered my mortality and realized that nothing was more important than my health and my family.

My mind played games with me. Imagine, right there on the operating table, dying with my intestines on the metal table, looking up to the heavens without an album released. "Oh, God, why so sudden? I haven't even fulfilled my record contract?"

It was only after the operation that my doctor (the best bloody surgeon in the world) told me it wasn't cancerous, but if it had been, having opened me up, that would have been the end of me. He asked me if I wanted to see the tumor. I said, "um, no thanks. I'd rather not be reminded of my past." In that moment, I let go of the past, of my frustrations, of any lost ideal, and began a new life.

I made a full recovery, and I still have an ovary. I was very lucky. While in hospital, flat on my back for 10 days, and then recuperating on my parents farm for four weeks, I had what you would call a "spiritual awakening." I discovered my mortality and realized that nothing was more important than my health and my family. It was really good to be home. I asked myself those empirical questions like "what is my purpose?", "how long will I do this until I feel my dreams are fulfilled?", "what is my dream?", "is my goal intangible, too unrealistic?", "am I happy?" and so forth. Many people on this planet have had these awakenings and often over a life and death situation.

I read "Conversations with God" Books 1, 2 and 3, by Neale Donald Walshe, I re-read the "Celestine Prophecy", a few other books that empowered my spirit, and then I wrote my first book, "I AM A Professional Artist", up in my little cabin on the hill. I cannot tell you what a glorious month December 1999 was. It was magic. All my motivational writings, my new warrior visions, my new dreams were all born on top of the mountain in this month, lying in bed barely walking and breathing, but so, so much alive.

My career was momentarily put on hold while I regained my strength and learned to love myself again. You see, what I had realized was that not only had I been physically sick, but emotionally as well. I had placed myself under immense strain in order to take on the record deal experience, and, overall, the Los Angeles experience. All these years of pushing, proving myself, convincing others to believe in me, and doing this alone, all had played a toll on my health. When I returned to L.A, late December 99, I knew that I could not live in Palmdale or be involved in someone else's dream anymore. I had come to learn, while sick, about what was meaningful to me by being here, and what was not. It was either going to follow my dream or go home. So by January 2000 I had moved to Sherman Oaks, in the Valley.

I was starting all over again. I sat in my new apartment, with boxes around me, with no money, no plan, no idea on how to achieve anything. But... I was onto something.

1. I believed in myself, 2. I I knew that all there was to know was the current moment, this journey, and 3. I felt abundant.

I realized for the first time that I know longer needed approval by anyone except myself. I didn't need a record producer. I didn't need a manager. I didn't need a record company and some A&R exec telling me what would be good for me. I didn't even need a boyfriend. I just needed myself. I needed to really listen to myself. Listen to my heart.

Early 2000 I began recording my first officially released album, 'temperamental angel', with my friend, Evan Beigel at his North Hollywood studio, Seasound. I registered my business, Warrior Girl Music, with the local newspaper and set up a bank account. Nothing was in the bank account, but I opened up the vessel for the money to come. I designed my own website and just started GETTING OUT THERE on my own, truly for the first time, ever.

Ten months after my hospital experience I wrote this on my online blog (Aug 2000). "Having gone through my huge personal growth in the past ten months since my hospital experience, I have discovered the truth behind my mission. My journey here is not about catching the industry's attention to become a star or to be famous. A 'record deal' will not fill the voids. I'm here because, firstly, I have had to learn about myself and who I really wanted to become. I am an artist. And I am an expressionist. I have nothing to prove except to create and to share with you my messages, my emotions and my heart-felt creations through my expression of music, writing and performing. I am here, secondly, because L.A allows me to create in peace. But this is not forever. This place, like its people, is transient. We should flow with it like the water. I hope to base myself also at home for my family, who are the strongest believers in me, and who, knowing I am the baby survivor, miss me very much. We should never lose touch of who we really are and who loves us the most. In looking back at these years in L.A, and even recollecting my years in Sydney before that, I have seen a wealthy past of experiences and of journeys. My destination is to create better more enriching vehicles to express myself to you in hope that it enriches your lives. I am much calmer these days. Not so much in a rush. Still determined. Still strong, I am a warrior girl, yet a spiritual warrior and a silent warrior working diligently, with determination, on my quest. I am finally recording my music. I have waited so long to do this. And it was me, really, who put the road blocks up. I gave myself so many distractions and gave away the power to others to make the decisions for me. I thank each and everyone who has inspired and influenced my creative growth. They will always remain special in my heart. Now, I am truly growing, because I am bringing my art alive. I am over the fear. For the fear of death is far worse than the fear of not being able to measure up to ambitions. And the fear of being alone is scarier than aloneness itself. For being alone is important, where we find our true selves. For the first time ever I have tapped into who I am musically and artistically. I have found my sound, and I have found it alone. I am working consciously, almost methodically in the creation of my music, music that's mine, and a vision that's mine. You might like it. You may think it sucks. I don't care. What will be, will be."

Since then, I have released 3 more albums, a remix album of the 'temperamental angel' album, Woman (2003) and extraOrdinary life (2005). I've produced ten albums for other artists, won many awards, toured the world three times, received mountains of reviews garnering high praise from the most jaded of critics, and worked with legends in the business. But none of my accolades thrill me. When once upon a time I yearned for recognition, for some notion of fame, for people to believe in me, for me to prove to people my worth, I now seek none of that. What excites me is what I do on a daily basis - my journey. The process of living my dream. I am in love with my life, my career and my creativity.

I began my career looking for someone else, "them, they, the others" to come along and make it happen for me. Most young artists live in this illusion. I thought "ok, I have talent, they will come." The reality is, we can't wait around for others to make it happen for us. I was a frustrated, unhappy person because I could not follow my true creative path and what my soul was telling me to be and do. It was only when I let go of my thirty year childhood, and took responsibility of my life and dreams, trusting my own musical instincts and my own heart, that it has proven to be the right choice. The only choice.

Enjoy the journey.

1 comment:

  1. steve byrd6:29 AM

    Brilliant story, Gilli...very brilliant. The "Conversations with God" series is one of my favorites.

    ReplyDelete