April 5, 2019

A Retrospective: February Flows

Today I put the finishing touches on "February Flows", the album. This month's blog post will serve as a retrospective to that experience, and as an overall update of what's been happening lately!

Peace & Blessings to you. Mr. Wildenfree here, though you can call me Sean, Wildenfree, or just Free, whichever you please. Thank you for taking your time out to read this & stay up to date with me. Before I get into the album, I'd like to frame how things developed.

So! February marked an interesting & random turn of events for how my 2019 would start to unfold. Really, February truly felt like when 2019 actually started for me. All of December & January, I was in a rut. Stifled & stagnated  by depressive loops & passive patterns of thinking, I didn't find myself wanting to do much of anything at all.

Ironically, even amongst all of those dark clouds, I was fortunate to also be perceiving a lot of beauty in my life & in the earnest connections I was able to have with family & friends alike — so it wasn't all bad, just a coupling of two very profound extremes.

A week or so before February, I was contacted by a friend, David T., who facilitates annual events like The Atlanta International Night Market & The Unity Tailgate. I was actually able to perform at their AINM event in October of 2018 thanks to my friend Nini, who reached out to request I Volunteer, getting me the placement to hit the stage, & making sure I was taken care of before, during & after my set.

So this time, David reached out & requested that I also perform at their Unity Tailgate event, which was to take place on February 2nd. After taking some time to consider, I accepted his request.

In order to prepare, I found myself going Live on Instagram pretty much every day up until the day of the event. Practicing my performance, going over my songs in both a Capella & over the instrumental, connecting with those who would stop in for the stream.

Doing this reminded me of a conversation I had with my bro IntricateTheAlmighty, back when I was in my rut & trying to make progress. He told me he was taking on a writing challenge, where he'd write a new song everyday. At the time it sounded great, yet I had not the gusto or wherewithal to see it through then.

Now, having finally felt like my "New Year" was upon me & already breaking the ice with my live stream performance rehearsals, I decided that February would be as good a time as any to get into this consistency challenge. Thus, #FebruaryFlows was born.

From day 1, I intuitively decided how I would be handling the music side of this writing challenge. Not only would I be writing, I would be making the beats every day. I had already used the iMPC Pro 2 app to compose the beats I used for my EP, "InKonscious", & I enjoyed the ease of producing on my iPad. Plus, I was eyeballing the "BeatMaker 3" app at the time as well, thanks to Henny Tha Bizness, whom I had been binging on YouTube. So I already had in mind an exciting way to make the music complete.

BeatMaker 3 in action

Day 1 I literally did my best to set the tone for how I would approach each & every day of this challenge — K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid). By simple, I mean I did my best to create the beat, write the song & record the video all within a 30min. – 2hr. time frame. This went well for roughly the first two weeks, gradually creeping up to 3 & 4hr. windows.

As time went on, I was falling into a state of flow & not really caring how much time I spent towards achieving the daily goal. There was nothing else I really cared to do. I simply wanted to make sure that I did not break the chain. I set out to do something & this time, I really wanted to do it. Even on the 2nd, when I had an entire performance set at the Unity Tailgate, I made sure to come home & create the song for the day (even if it was originally a Capella).

Mr. Wildenfree sips tea from his Yoda mug in a red dashiki, Feb. 22nd for February Flows
February Flows, Feb. 22nd "Erupt" ft. Oli Bernatchez

I was even blessed to have friends reach out & suggest beats to do a flow over (s/o @tonee.deaf, @wildenfree, @vuonimous), as well as to have three very dope producer friends collaborate with me by sending over a beat to be a part of the February Flow series. I am truly grateful for London Elixir, AG Dynasty, & Oli Bernatchez.

During the beginning I found myself caring about if I was getting views, if people even liked what I was doing. More than half way through, I was so enthralled & entranced by the process of creation that I cared less if it even saw the light of day.

In those moments, It didn't matter to me if I was the only person in the world to hear this music... I was hearing it. I was elated. The feeling I got from it was electric.

I got goose bumps listening to my own beats, at how tenacious the patterns were, at how intricate the melodies were becoming. Hairs raised & I felt flushed with euphoria when listening back to my own bars. I was hearing my own state of mind & caught myself having epiphanies to my own lyrics, as if I didn't write them myself. This was what music should feel like. I found myself assured in my existence for every moment I spent creating, for every song I finished recording.

Naturally, I'd post the videos to my Instagram page, to share in the process. To document the journey for you all who were keeping a keen eye out for it. I could barely imagine you all would ever be able to feel the way I was feeling about what transpired to create each of those songs. The beauty of the mystery behind it all. I only stopped a handful of times throughout the month to give a sneak peek into the behind-the-scenes as things developed.

Part of this was because I was too busy creating, too enthralled with the work. Another part was that I didn't pre-plan for behind-the-scenes footage. Another part, was that I found it exponentially more beautiful that I could have these moments, feel these feelings, & cultivate so much joy in the creative process, without feeling the need to grab my camera & upload it to social media. It helped me realize again — this one was for me.

Quite honestly a social media post wouldn't have done it justice. A live stream may have captured an essence of what it felt like, allowing those of you who viewed it to be like a "fly on the wall". To observe the mundanity & insanity of selecting a snare from a list of 700 other snare sounds, tweaking the EQ to make a sound blend in just right, mumbling to myself rhymes, writing & deleting lines of lyrics, or repeatedly pounding a rhythmic pattern onto digital pads.

Only those who have truly been captivated by what it is that I am striving for would, perhaps, find that interesting. To sit there with me in silence, observing such a process, only being able to reflect upon it once the creating is done. That would be the most efficient way for me to make room for such a thing. Otherwise, the shift in focus would leave me more debilitated than aided. I have cultivated an appreciation for "Deep Work", having listened to Cal Newport's audiobook on the matter. Achieving a state of flow truly does require siloing oneself & doubling down on the work before them. I was happy to endure the isolation for the sake of manifesting my art.

As the month went on, it was hinted here & there through the comments, however when my brother Jean Doe reached out & told me how he would really enjoy listening to each of these daily songs as a feature-length album, I had to oblige. Nevertheless I needed time to make it happen. After all, I am an independent artist, who had but a limited budget of time & finances to manifest this request. Regardless, I sought to see it through.

March brought about another consistency challenge for me as well, since I wanted to continue riding the wave I was creating. #MusicMakingMarch began, where this time I was doing recordings of live finger drumming performances using the BeatMaker 3 app I had so gotten familiar with in the month of February. What wasn't really posted about however, were the hours I was putting into recording February Flows, the album. Coupled with all the other non-music related work projects I had to complete, it would take me roughly the whole month to bring it to fruition.

And now, I seek to share the results of February's consistency challenge with the world in its most beautiful, audible form. After 53 hours & 34 minutes  in Logic (Thanks to the Timing app I know this exactly), comprised of 29 songs with roughly 14 iterations of revisions each, the album is done. Mixed & Mastered myself (mainly out of necessity).

"February Flows" (April 13, 2019)

February Flows will be available on all major streaming services Saturday, April 13, 2019. It will be up for pre-order at the top of next week. You can pre-save it on Spotify by clicking here.

As for the month of April, I am doing #AprilAuthenticity, inspired by London Elixir, where I'll now be focusing a bit more on sharing the behind-the-scenes of all that it is I have going on. This month won't be an everyday thing like the last two, as I'm using it as my opportunity to recoup.

If you've made it this far, Peace & Blessings, Love & Light, & an abundance of Gratitude to you. I appreciate you for listening to my story. I hope you enjoy the album & find it to be a source of light & positive vibrations. Should you feel so inclined, I would be honored to have you support by buying the album wherever you deem fit (until I get my own e-commerce integrated into this site, where I can sell it to you myself!).

All the best,

Mr. Wildenfree

April 5, 2019
Mr. Wildenfree
Peculiar Ponderer. Lyrical Dreamer. Creatively Expressing Balance In Duality.

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