Here's a candid side of me that I usually wouldn't show :) It's a dream come true to announce that I'm releasing Winter, my ongoing concept album that's been 8 years in the making, now available only to pledgers through my campaign launched today here: Experience the sound of Winter! I'd appreciate your help by sharing this News Post and supporting my fundraiser. Let me explain, here's my story...
I've spent the last two years struggling with a degenerative tendon disease leading to a derailing chronic wrist injury. At first I was misdiagnosed and it took six months to understand why my wrists were escalating in pain. Since March 2015 I have routinely been a patient of several clinics, in and out of several hospitals, X-ray/Ultrasound/MRI scanning beds, frequented medical specialists and doctors offices around the city with minimal results. I am still uneasy and discouraged trying to repair myself and move forward. Part of the healing process now is to make this public, to ease my weighty shoulders, after keeping it to myself for so long as I tried to keep my chin up.
By the Fall of 2015, I had to take three months off work by doctors orders to try to recover my worsening condition. I spent most of my time focusing on my own self-care on a day to day basis, now void of the usual creative studio work and ability to play my instruments. Support from the Unison Benevolent Fund would cover my basic living expenses for the weeks that followed, after quitting the few jobs I had at the time that were bringing in the little income available. I was a frequent visitor to the Artists Health Centre in Toronto, a clinic with services available to patients who were creative, quite literally a place for starving artists! Afterwards it was difficult to find a job that allowed me to sustain the cost of living without further injuring and permanently harming my physical health, so I have fallen behind ever since just trying to make ends meet. It's been even more difficult to see my fuelling passion be put on the back-burner, something that I would never do on my own accord. Because of these unwelcome changes, the last thing I can afford to do right now is fund the release of this project on my own, like I have done with pride for dozens of my albums in the past. I've spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on this album, now I just need a hand to bring it to life.
In all honesty, this is the reason why I could really use your help by contributing to my campaign, I'm sharing the truth so that together we can put my music out into the world! It's my best work by far and although I had to abandon it for more than a year due to my injury, I am determined to make my dream come true by releasing it the way I always dreamed of: a double-CD, a complex box set full of rarities to tell my story, I'm even pressing vinyl for the first time ever! I'm so happy to know this injury couldn't stop Winter from becoming a reality in the end of it's long and turbulent eight year process.
In just a short and confusing time, I went from vigorously pushing my music career forward to being told by the doctor that I had to stop playing guitar and piano entirely for one month, which turned into three months with inconclusive results. I am still alive and healthy compared to the fate that so many people face on a daily basis, but on a personal level my whole life had to be derailed and I'm wrestling with the task of getting back on my feet.
It's how unexpectedly it took over my day-to-day routine that haunts me: In 2015, I played 30 shows in two tours on the road across Canada, while releasing an album with weeks of a nonstop workload and a self-promotion machine in action. I was also producing a handful of records in my studio, running an indie record label single-handedly, bussing at a restaurant part-time, so ultimately I was working seven days a week for months on end.
After years of small warning signs, sharp and constant pain in my left wrist, and then my right, flared up and hasn't left me ever since. It's been devastating to have only performed five songs live as The Sun Harmonic (being featured at the orchestral concerts) since my show on the beach in Grand Bend in August 2015. The stage truly is where I feel most alive, most like myself, most useful in this world. However, I can still write and sing my songs with or without an instrument, I made the decision long ago to pursue the life of a songwriter and even in the face of hardship that will not change. I will fight this battle for the rest of my life but will never forget that this period was the most questionable stage where it all either ended in failure or pointed towards my future.
The show must go on! Although some of this is out of my control, the decision I can make is to continue creating music proudly. I've been trying to change the world with my songs since I was 13 and now that I've been battered and bruised I am simply determined to improve people's lives with my music instead, even if it's one at a time. Although my decline and diagnosis was terrifying it taught me I could face a heavy challenge and still overcome the odds against me. I feel victorious by releasing this album that I've happily worked on during every single winter season since 2010. I see my trials and tribulations as a part of the triumph of finally releasing Winter.
If you've read this far, thank you. As you can imagine, even writing this out is difficult for my condition and it's something I struggle with every day. I'm compassionate for you who may have similar issues of your own as we all grow old. Whether or not your own burden is public or private, I encourage you to find inspiration in doing what you love most despite the odds against you. I am empowered by finishing and releasing this album, after wrestling with depression and the sheer nightmare of possibly having to give up on being a musician. In hindsight, it's now defined who I am as a musician and I plan to write it into the fabric of my songs as I move forward, my pains and creative pursuits will become intertwined.
I will be donating a portion of my proceeds from the campaign to the Unison Benevolent Fund in thanks for their support in my time of need.