What makes an artist an artist? Why do any of us choose to make music?
For a while, it was difficult to think of myself as a legitimate artist. I felt that the Annie Elise project was more of a vehicle for my production than it was its own artist project.
When my younger cousin Peter passed unexpectedly following a heart surgery, it made the existential part of my brain really question what the whole point was. Why do we work so hard if it only gets harder?
Peter was a creative person, creating scenes with his enormous model train collection far before he was ever old enough to drive. He was unapologetic about the things he loved, and everyone around him knew it.
In my reflections during that period of immense grief, I realized that among many things I love in music, I particularly loved being an artist. Having complete creative control over the stories we want to tell is a real gift that is often taken for granted. I feel as though sometimes there are expectations that come with the labels placed on us in the music industry. With the artist label comes expectations of shows, vulnerability, and high energy – and during this period of grief and rest I haven’t been able to do those things. All I’ve been able to do is rest and reflect. And in doing so, I have come to realize that I don’t need to wait for other people to label me as an artist. Simply making the art is what makes me an artist.