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.
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).
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 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,
I am peculiar & unashamed. I am not normal — & I never tried to be... I'm living my life so very Wildenfree.