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My deepest fear, why I hide my music (+ how MIC and my fictional world of Oakland help)
Written by:
Millaze

20181029, 1113am Hopscotch coffee, Anberlin Light is the Way…,  Amy Shark All Loved Up Sink In, Mallrat Groceries, Mitski Be the Cowboy, Snail Mail, Julien Baker

Apparently I’m writing a post about my most mysterious and complex fear (one of them we all have so many), the reason Why I Hide My Music (and if we want to make this a MIC-related point for the IMBM: Why Some Indies Hide Their Music + Why You Should Keep Going Until You Get Out of the 1st Circle Conundrum). I'm not adding a ton of pictures to this cuz that would just be weird and self-indulgent and social-media-y. I'll just use this one from when I wrote the post here at my coffee shop this morning lol. Fun fact I forgot to put my phone on silent so everyone knew I was taking a picture cuz it made that camera noise. Fun.

An Important Note Before We Begin:

This is not about lack of confidence by the way -- it's deeper and more complex than that. It's about how our belief systems are where it all begins, even music careers. The subtleties of the human mind creates blockages we put up for ourselves -- but we can work with them using the tools in our arsenals like self-awareness, self-study, and some wisdom about reality (like MIC provides). Or if you're like me you can get real weird about it to forge through to the other side. I suggest that one. Be weird.

If you want to cut straight to more of the MIC side of this, jump over to this article here.


I don’t know what’s coming over me to want to write such a naked and uncomfortable post on this particular morning -- I think I want to establish some facts before the Dialectic Singles Series gets too far along. I want you guys to know about where I’m coming from, so you know all this MIC-business-and-looking-professional stuff is only one small part of my big picture. (“I’m just a person!” - Tig Notaro)


Plus, I want to get to introducing this world of Oakland I created very soon, because the next single “The Malaise” shows the mindf*ck side of it. (Ugh, if swearing offends you, I’m sorry, I try to avoid it as business Emily, and to not to throw acid on peoples’ ears like some comedians compare it to -- but I don’t take swearing so seriously, and that’s the correct phrase for what the Malaise of Millaze is about. And also the LvF EP that’s coming out later -- but I’m getting ahead of myself.) And I gotta explain a few things before I can open the doors into my personal, magical world.



God I hope all this makes sense because I’ma just write.


Ok so, here’s the truth:



In person, I have a really hard time bouncing between business Emily and music artist Millaze. I notice that when someone asks me what I do for a living (which has happened a ton in the past year since I moved here to Bloomington, IN for this self-claimed waldon-pond-esque artist retreat era of my life), I answer “I have a company that helps other indie musicians like me balance their health and make money off their music.” Yeah, I totally, totally bury the fact that I’m an indie musician. Idk. I have some (a ton of) hunches about why I do this. It’s one of my greatest mysteries I gnaw on.


I’ve been this way my entire life: I hide my music. I like to just play my piano and sing my sacred songs in the way background, enjoying it myself, not imposing on anyone -- but that’s more about my personality, less about my music’s quality. I adore and respect my music -- I love listening to my own demos now (note: this took me years to get to this point, for what it’s worth). Millaze’s music has saved my life, given me purpose and taught me how to create a world in the darkest times, when no one could help me (we all have times in life where we're the only one who can really change things around for ourselves). Plus, it’s just freaking great music and god there is so much of it idk when I wrote all of it it’s all a blur.


Also, I’m so grateful for all the musicians who have given me music to sink and dive into my whole life, so I get real excited about adding my music out into the world for others to use, too. God, I love how we all take songs and make them about us. You know?? Ah. I love it so much.


And it’s especially weird I hide my music because I’m not scared to be onstage. The opposite actually: I’ve craved the stage since I was a tiny kid. No joke, I vividly remember that even in 1st grade I was a little prick internally, I’d sit there and listen to the teacher and think “I could explain that better”. Haha, and until I started understanding self-awareness I’d also be that annoying over-eager kid who always wanted to read out loud in class and raised their hand way too high way too quickly at the opportunity. I was also always jealous of my sister and classmates when they were already good at singing and stuff, and they’d get to be cantors at church, or get the solos in bell choir or school plays. (Side note: I wasn’t good at singing till I was like 20, my voice developed late, cuz that’s a thing.)


Also, hell, I used to do competitive public speaking with forensics speech and debate back in high school. Those were the days. Oh or when I was a radio DJ in college at Pitt. Or drama club. Or when I was a TA for a bunch of classes at Pitt. And all my MIC teaching clients and interns. Teaching is like performing. Oh and of course all my years of jazz band and symphony band, duh, I’ve been lucky to get a lot of stage time throughout my life. Ah I love performing. There’s no other feeling like it, one of my favorite highs. I bet it’s in my genes because my mom’s a professional church organist (and my sister became one), and my dad’s a DJ and drummer…


See? I could go on for a while about the mysterious side of this - the contradiction between why I hold back sharing my music, when I think (A) it’s great music and (B) I love performing onstage.



Core Beliefs


Watch me dive a little more: I’m even sure it wraps around more areas of my psyche and subconscious than the few that self-study and therapy’s uncovered for me over the years. For example, there are all these nuances of the human condition we suffer psychologically, of which I only know a handful at this point -- things like core beliefs that are established in childhood (“I’m unloveable”, “I am stupid”, “I’m bad”, “People are untrustworthy”, “I ruin everything”) based on some key events we go through. We carry these core beliefs around for our whole lives.


My albatross to bear core belief is probably about “unimportance” (hence my shyness about my music, incongruent with my normal personality) because of a bunch of things. I’ll mention this one: I grew up so in awe of and jealous of my big sister. Not only is there that hierarchy of power in sibling order because she was older, but she was everything I wanted to be, so I hid back in the shadows. Like, she wasn’t only skinny like I wanted to be so desperately when I was a little elementary school chubalub, but she also had all these friends that didn’t turn on her like mine did with gossip, and on top of that and most importantly she also was this freaking innately talented musician like I wanted to be more than anything. And at the time I was self-aware enough to know I sucked at singing and piano compared to her. Also, I just came back to this paragraph to force myself to be more honest here because I'm grazing past another key element -- there's also an entire side of unimportance stemming from the humiliation of being a fat kid growing up, and the fact that having your body on display is an inherent aspect of being a commercial musician like I dreamed. Think about that. Especially if you're a woman, your body is in that game -- even if you decide to play the "All About that Bass" Meghan Trainor body confidence side of it, that body is in the freaking game. So that alone, not even just that I compared myself to my sister cuz gosh we were just night and day, was enough to make me wanna hide in a closet in general. Oh yes we can all see these things about us, then trace them with a magic pencil seeing all the alignments across our lives -- like how I ended up on the other end of it, becoming a fitness instructor and yogi and nutrition hobbyist. This kind of deep stuff is all endlessly weaved into our lives. I really believe that embracing it, laughing at it, and looking at it in wonder is a special part of being a human. I digress.


So anyway, we establish these core beliefs about who we are when we’re little, and we carry them around with us our entire lives -- oh, I’m not even scraping the surface though, I’m no expert. Like, there’s also trauma and all that comes along with it. Then there are just all these other things with and without labels we go through as humans -- mental health isn’t just depression and schizophrenia, it’s all these nuances about the entire state of being conscious.


And at the end of the day, exploring these things about ourselves is about putting faces and names to the beast, so we can conquer, use, or simply accept and work with/around our fears and weaknesses. So that’s why I bring up my weird fear of why I hide my music. Because I’ve spent my whole life inside the fear, and I’m in the perpetual personal process of conquering it, through Millaze.


...I think that I don’t want to share my music sometimes, because it’s so special to me, and I’m street smart and business savvy enough to know how all our egos are ruthless. People won't care, often. I'm down with people not liking my music, but overall dealing with any of the feedback or wondering about the conception of my art is others' worlds is just a ton of cognitive dissonance and mental noise I don't wanna spend my energy on. Cuz I'm not perfect at not overanalyzing or obsessing over the negative yet, I work on it but I still am tempted to exhaust myself thinking about it.

So to a musician, sharing a part of your heart and soul and being ignored? Or, hearing feedback where you don't know exactly how that person is projecting back onto you their own personal fears so your ego wants to take it personally even though there is no objective "good" or "bad" music it's all niches and perception? Exhausting rabbit holes and metaphysical smacks in the face. So sometimes, I’d rather not burn out on the outside world -- because I’m satisfied with simply enjoying my little world of music myself.


But then there’s that side of me that knows my career calling is to share the music with the world, not stay hushed up alone in my room. And all signs here on earth point that it’s possible -- there’s always a way to get to the other side in life. MIC has helped me, immensely, with fully believing this (and beliefs are where it all starts).  


1st Circle Conundrum


One of my favorite parts of MIC is how the IMBM research helped me put a name to the beast of this though: the 1st Circle Conundrum (click here for more on that). Thank god I at least understand from a logical angle why those people in our lives who already know us simply can’t support our music as “fans”, and we shouldn’t take it personally, they still love us. They just already labeled us as something else in their heads, you can’t re-learn who someone is to you and become a superfan of their music. It’s fine, it’s what it is.


It’s still inherently a painful experience though, to release music and cringe at the knowing that those people in your life will seriously not get it, and they’re the first ones who you’re forced to share it with because of how social media works.


And it takes some focused patience and grit to get your business plan to the steps that happen outside your 1st Circle (FINALLY), into the 2nd degree of separation where strangers can see/feel your music with that freshness needed to actually become a fan.


I personally use that MIC business wisdom to keep me going forward. Every day. But sometimes logic isn’t enough, we humans need more spiritual approaches in life, to hit our belief systems deep down.


And I found mine. An answer for how to circumnavigate around my fear, genuinely and without denial, and with loving art: I made a world. I made a world outside myself so Millaze doesn’t have to sit inside that 1st Circle uncomfortably while I get through the business work to the 2nd Circle. She’s outside it all, doing her thing away from all of us, living out her story in Oakland.


Oakland


That’s where the world of Oakland comes in. Millaze is a character I created, and she lives in Oakland.


So, I created the world of Oakland in my head by accident actually. A few years ago, I started doing this splitting with reality thing in my head. So weird. Don’t ask me to explain it, I still barely get it. Maybe everyone has a variation of this -- either way, it's not the point here. I’m a writer, right? Both in songs, and in fiction like here in my notebooks -- but my primary is songwriting. I was writing a story for years, combining my life and memories with my fiction story ideas. And I was using all the places I’ve been as the backdrop -- and I combined all the locations from Pittsburgh and all around the world, to create my world of “Oakland”. (Literally, there are fountains and oceans and mountains and walking paths in the forest… I drew a map. Like Winnie the Pooh or LOTR-style. I’ll show you soon.)

This world was a way to ground my reality -- and also teach me that illusion is everything. So you can also create illusions about your music career goals to fuel self-fulfilling prophecy and create something out of nothing.


The Malaise

The single this coming Friday is called “The Malaise”, and it’s about how I started living in this world mentally, through my music -- ah man I really can’t describe it more than that, you just gotta hear the song. I’ll start sharing all those drawings soon, too, that’ll be good.



So. Um. That’s enough. This was incredibly hard to write and I’m probably not going to go back for typos today because I’d like to move onto my other IMBM Process work for the day -- and cuz I don’t want it to be sterile. I’d like this to be honest. And I think I hit my main point about sharing that I am also but a human with a human brain of fears and illusions, and both MIC and Millaze’s Oakland helps ground me in reality, and the next single is about… not being grounded in reality. How this all started for me, in that mindf*ck.


I guess the main point is that I don’t believe in hype in music careers, like push marketing to tell everyone how you’re the next big thing, blah blah. So that’s why I wrote this. I think truly great art is when people are truly raw humans. And god, it’s painful for your favorite artists to be so vulnerable, in fact, in true art form, I will awkwardly end this post just to emphasize that point.


-Millaze

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Follow Millaze anywhere you listen to music: Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, Amazon, etc.

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My deepest fear, why I hide my music (+ how MIC and my fictional world of Oakland help)
My deepest fear, why I hide my music (+ how MIC and my fictional world of Oakland help)
My youth of dreaming to be an indie musician, and not knowing where the heck to start, fueled the creation of MIC to help others like me.

20181029, 1113am Hopscotch coffee, Anberlin Light is the Way…,  Amy Shark All Loved Up Sink In, Mallrat Groceries, Mitski Be the Cowboy, Snail Mail, Julien Baker

Apparently I’m writing a post about my most mysterious and complex fear (one of them we all have so many), the reason Why I Hide My Music (and if we want to make this a MIC-related point for the IMBM: Why Some Indies Hide Their Music + Why You Should Keep Going Until You Get Out of the 1st Circle Conundrum). I'm not adding a ton of pictures to this cuz that would just be weird and self-indulgent and social-media-y. I'll just use this one from when I wrote the post here at my coffee shop this morning lol. Fun fact I forgot to put my phone on silent so everyone knew I was taking a picture cuz it made that camera noise. Fun.

An Important Note Before We Begin:

This is not about lack of confidence by the way -- it's deeper and more complex than that. It's about how our belief systems are where it all begins, even music careers. The subtleties of the human mind creates blockages we put up for ourselves -- but we can work with them using the tools in our arsenals like self-awareness, self-study, and some wisdom about reality (like MIC provides). Or if you're like me you can get real weird about it to forge through to the other side. I suggest that one. Be weird.

If you want to cut straight to more of the MIC side of this, jump over to this article here.


I don’t know what’s coming over me to want to write such a naked and uncomfortable post on this particular morning -- I think I want to establish some facts before the Dialectic Singles Series gets too far along. I want you guys to know about where I’m coming from, so you know all this MIC-business-and-looking-professional stuff is only one small part of my big picture. (“I’m just a person!” - Tig Notaro)


Plus, I want to get to introducing this world of Oakland I created very soon, because the next single “The Malaise” shows the mindf*ck side of it. (Ugh, if swearing offends you, I’m sorry, I try to avoid it as business Emily, and to not to throw acid on peoples’ ears like some comedians compare it to -- but I don’t take swearing so seriously, and that’s the correct phrase for what the Malaise of Millaze is about. And also the LvF EP that’s coming out later -- but I’m getting ahead of myself.) And I gotta explain a few things before I can open the doors into my personal, magical world.



God I hope all this makes sense because I’ma just write.


Ok so, here’s the truth:



In person, I have a really hard time bouncing between business Emily and music artist Millaze. I notice that when someone asks me what I do for a living (which has happened a ton in the past year since I moved here to Bloomington, IN for this self-claimed waldon-pond-esque artist retreat era of my life), I answer “I have a company that helps other indie musicians like me balance their health and make money off their music.” Yeah, I totally, totally bury the fact that I’m an indie musician. Idk. I have some (a ton of) hunches about why I do this. It’s one of my greatest mysteries I gnaw on.


I’ve been this way my entire life: I hide my music. I like to just play my piano and sing my sacred songs in the way background, enjoying it myself, not imposing on anyone -- but that’s more about my personality, less about my music’s quality. I adore and respect my music -- I love listening to my own demos now (note: this took me years to get to this point, for what it’s worth). Millaze’s music has saved my life, given me purpose and taught me how to create a world in the darkest times, when no one could help me (we all have times in life where we're the only one who can really change things around for ourselves). Plus, it’s just freaking great music and god there is so much of it idk when I wrote all of it it’s all a blur.


Also, I’m so grateful for all the musicians who have given me music to sink and dive into my whole life, so I get real excited about adding my music out into the world for others to use, too. God, I love how we all take songs and make them about us. You know?? Ah. I love it so much.


And it’s especially weird I hide my music because I’m not scared to be onstage. The opposite actually: I’ve craved the stage since I was a tiny kid. No joke, I vividly remember that even in 1st grade I was a little prick internally, I’d sit there and listen to the teacher and think “I could explain that better”. Haha, and until I started understanding self-awareness I’d also be that annoying over-eager kid who always wanted to read out loud in class and raised their hand way too high way too quickly at the opportunity. I was also always jealous of my sister and classmates when they were already good at singing and stuff, and they’d get to be cantors at church, or get the solos in bell choir or school plays. (Side note: I wasn’t good at singing till I was like 20, my voice developed late, cuz that’s a thing.)


Also, hell, I used to do competitive public speaking with forensics speech and debate back in high school. Those were the days. Oh or when I was a radio DJ in college at Pitt. Or drama club. Or when I was a TA for a bunch of classes at Pitt. And all my MIC teaching clients and interns. Teaching is like performing. Oh and of course all my years of jazz band and symphony band, duh, I’ve been lucky to get a lot of stage time throughout my life. Ah I love performing. There’s no other feeling like it, one of my favorite highs. I bet it’s in my genes because my mom’s a professional church organist (and my sister became one), and my dad’s a DJ and drummer…


See? I could go on for a while about the mysterious side of this - the contradiction between why I hold back sharing my music, when I think (A) it’s great music and (B) I love performing onstage.



Core Beliefs


Watch me dive a little more: I’m even sure it wraps around more areas of my psyche and subconscious than the few that self-study and therapy’s uncovered for me over the years. For example, there are all these nuances of the human condition we suffer psychologically, of which I only know a handful at this point -- things like core beliefs that are established in childhood (“I’m unloveable”, “I am stupid”, “I’m bad”, “People are untrustworthy”, “I ruin everything”) based on some key events we go through. We carry these core beliefs around for our whole lives.


My albatross to bear core belief is probably about “unimportance” (hence my shyness about my music, incongruent with my normal personality) because of a bunch of things. I’ll mention this one: I grew up so in awe of and jealous of my big sister. Not only is there that hierarchy of power in sibling order because she was older, but she was everything I wanted to be, so I hid back in the shadows. Like, she wasn’t only skinny like I wanted to be so desperately when I was a little elementary school chubalub, but she also had all these friends that didn’t turn on her like mine did with gossip, and on top of that and most importantly she also was this freaking innately talented musician like I wanted to be more than anything. And at the time I was self-aware enough to know I sucked at singing and piano compared to her. Also, I just came back to this paragraph to force myself to be more honest here because I'm grazing past another key element -- there's also an entire side of unimportance stemming from the humiliation of being a fat kid growing up, and the fact that having your body on display is an inherent aspect of being a commercial musician like I dreamed. Think about that. Especially if you're a woman, your body is in that game -- even if you decide to play the "All About that Bass" Meghan Trainor body confidence side of it, that body is in the freaking game. So that alone, not even just that I compared myself to my sister cuz gosh we were just night and day, was enough to make me wanna hide in a closet in general. Oh yes we can all see these things about us, then trace them with a magic pencil seeing all the alignments across our lives -- like how I ended up on the other end of it, becoming a fitness instructor and yogi and nutrition hobbyist. This kind of deep stuff is all endlessly weaved into our lives. I really believe that embracing it, laughing at it, and looking at it in wonder is a special part of being a human. I digress.


So anyway, we establish these core beliefs about who we are when we’re little, and we carry them around with us our entire lives -- oh, I’m not even scraping the surface though, I’m no expert. Like, there’s also trauma and all that comes along with it. Then there are just all these other things with and without labels we go through as humans -- mental health isn’t just depression and schizophrenia, it’s all these nuances about the entire state of being conscious.


And at the end of the day, exploring these things about ourselves is about putting faces and names to the beast, so we can conquer, use, or simply accept and work with/around our fears and weaknesses. So that’s why I bring up my weird fear of why I hide my music. Because I’ve spent my whole life inside the fear, and I’m in the perpetual personal process of conquering it, through Millaze.


...I think that I don’t want to share my music sometimes, because it’s so special to me, and I’m street smart and business savvy enough to know how all our egos are ruthless. People won't care, often. I'm down with people not liking my music, but overall dealing with any of the feedback or wondering about the conception of my art is others' worlds is just a ton of cognitive dissonance and mental noise I don't wanna spend my energy on. Cuz I'm not perfect at not overanalyzing or obsessing over the negative yet, I work on it but I still am tempted to exhaust myself thinking about it.

So to a musician, sharing a part of your heart and soul and being ignored? Or, hearing feedback where you don't know exactly how that person is projecting back onto you their own personal fears so your ego wants to take it personally even though there is no objective "good" or "bad" music it's all niches and perception? Exhausting rabbit holes and metaphysical smacks in the face. So sometimes, I’d rather not burn out on the outside world -- because I’m satisfied with simply enjoying my little world of music myself.


But then there’s that side of me that knows my career calling is to share the music with the world, not stay hushed up alone in my room. And all signs here on earth point that it’s possible -- there’s always a way to get to the other side in life. MIC has helped me, immensely, with fully believing this (and beliefs are where it all starts).  


1st Circle Conundrum


One of my favorite parts of MIC is how the IMBM research helped me put a name to the beast of this though: the 1st Circle Conundrum (click here for more on that). Thank god I at least understand from a logical angle why those people in our lives who already know us simply can’t support our music as “fans”, and we shouldn’t take it personally, they still love us. They just already labeled us as something else in their heads, you can’t re-learn who someone is to you and become a superfan of their music. It’s fine, it’s what it is.


It’s still inherently a painful experience though, to release music and cringe at the knowing that those people in your life will seriously not get it, and they’re the first ones who you’re forced to share it with because of how social media works.


And it takes some focused patience and grit to get your business plan to the steps that happen outside your 1st Circle (FINALLY), into the 2nd degree of separation where strangers can see/feel your music with that freshness needed to actually become a fan.


I personally use that MIC business wisdom to keep me going forward. Every day. But sometimes logic isn’t enough, we humans need more spiritual approaches in life, to hit our belief systems deep down.


And I found mine. An answer for how to circumnavigate around my fear, genuinely and without denial, and with loving art: I made a world. I made a world outside myself so Millaze doesn’t have to sit inside that 1st Circle uncomfortably while I get through the business work to the 2nd Circle. She’s outside it all, doing her thing away from all of us, living out her story in Oakland.


Oakland


That’s where the world of Oakland comes in. Millaze is a character I created, and she lives in Oakland.


So, I created the world of Oakland in my head by accident actually. A few years ago, I started doing this splitting with reality thing in my head. So weird. Don’t ask me to explain it, I still barely get it. Maybe everyone has a variation of this -- either way, it's not the point here. I’m a writer, right? Both in songs, and in fiction like here in my notebooks -- but my primary is songwriting. I was writing a story for years, combining my life and memories with my fiction story ideas. And I was using all the places I’ve been as the backdrop -- and I combined all the locations from Pittsburgh and all around the world, to create my world of “Oakland”. (Literally, there are fountains and oceans and mountains and walking paths in the forest… I drew a map. Like Winnie the Pooh or LOTR-style. I’ll show you soon.)

This world was a way to ground my reality -- and also teach me that illusion is everything. So you can also create illusions about your music career goals to fuel self-fulfilling prophecy and create something out of nothing.


The Malaise

The single this coming Friday is called “The Malaise”, and it’s about how I started living in this world mentally, through my music -- ah man I really can’t describe it more than that, you just gotta hear the song. I’ll start sharing all those drawings soon, too, that’ll be good.



So. Um. That’s enough. This was incredibly hard to write and I’m probably not going to go back for typos today because I’d like to move onto my other IMBM Process work for the day -- and cuz I don’t want it to be sterile. I’d like this to be honest. And I think I hit my main point about sharing that I am also but a human with a human brain of fears and illusions, and both MIC and Millaze’s Oakland helps ground me in reality, and the next single is about… not being grounded in reality. How this all started for me, in that mindf*ck.


I guess the main point is that I don’t believe in hype in music careers, like push marketing to tell everyone how you’re the next big thing, blah blah. So that’s why I wrote this. I think truly great art is when people are truly raw humans. And god, it’s painful for your favorite artists to be so vulnerable, in fact, in true art form, I will awkwardly end this post just to emphasize that point.


-Millaze

Youtube and Email Subscribe for exclusive weekly song releases before anyone else gets them, straight from Millaze.

Follow Millaze anywhere you listen to music: Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, Amazon, etc.

Talk with her on Social Media @iammillaze: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook


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