In my recent blog post, I spoke about a possible end to my performing with the gloves. It’s certainly true that I’ve had a difficult relationship with them at times. They empower me yes, but also are a constant reminder of what I can’t do. I still dream of guitar heroics and piano recitals. It’s complicated.
And yes, I’ve felt awkward on stage playing venues, regular gigs. But maybe that’s not about the gloves. Context is king.
I struggle, like most musicians I know do, to engage with the music industry. Touring. Streaming. Worrying about spotify numbers. Ticket sales. It’s nothing new to say that it’s demoralising at times.
Meanwhile, there are spaces where my art is recognised. The spaces of academia, science and technology are hugely welcoming to me. I do loads of work across the music education sector. Academics regularly quote and champion me. I am having exciting conversations with tech brands. My original pair of gloves are on display in a museum(!) – all amazing things that form a rewarding, sustainable career. And in these spaces, playing the gloves feels special.
But insecurities win out, and I worry about my low radio plays. And I play gigs in places that I feel like I should play because music industry; but they’re places I don’t feel I belong.
Meanwhile, see above. There are many welcoming spaces, and I’m very fortunate to have those.
Maybe it’s not the gloves. Yes, I would like a simpler relationship with my songs, with less technological hoops to jump, but that may just be part of the ongoing quest. Maybe there’s ways of accessing music I am yet to even imagine. Maybe there’s a way back to the basics. Maybe there just isn’t a neat solution. Maybe the struggle, the questions, maybe that’s the real art.
That doesn’t take away from the magic of the gloves.
Context is king.
There are many wonderful spaces where my work makes perfect sense. Maybe the music industry just isn’t one of them. And maybe that’s okay.