The Best Is Yet To Come…
* Guest Blog From Jude Adams. Singer/songwriter
In September 2016 I released my Debut Album, This Girl, This Woman aged 57. All songs written and sung by me.
I had only started writing in any shape or form four years before. I had only started singing in 2009 – in front of anyone.
This was a hidden passion and a part of me suppressed, essentially through a lack of confidence. I had always thought I wouldn’t be good enough, that I had to be better than I was. Perfectionist tendencies possibly, a competitive instinct too. But those fears prevented me from believing I could sing as freely in front of people as I did behind my bedroom door with no company other than the records I was accompanying and a hairbrush!
In the same way that, once into adulthood, my sexuality was closeted so was my singing. Even when I did start performing in public some of those fears remained and took me way out of my comfort zone. A little like sitting an exam, a lot of the fear was in the anticipation of what could go wrong, how I would be received.
I was editing my life and my true self in more ways than one. But once in front of a microphone or sitting at the exam desk you just get on with it – there aren’t many other choices. Not enough time to ruminate. And, as with life, you may not score a win each time but equally you may score more wins than you imagine.
However, any issues with comfort zones and singing, as with most other decisions about my life, were taken out of my control in late 2011 when increasing health concerns were diagnosed as M.E.
Starting on my long journey towards recovery I was encouraged to start journaling to assist with the emotional aspects of the illness I now had to manage. Initially, I would write most days in my journal. Thoughts. Feelings. Musings. And then some of those entries evolved into what could have been regarded as poems. And then, often with musical doodles coming into my head and hummed into my phone (I don’t play an instrument and never have), I realised that they may even be songs.
I sought advice. I did online courses. I saw music teachers and vocal coaches when I could. I tried to learn as much as possible about song writing. But, also, I just did it. I sat on the mat and put pen to paper. Regularly.
I should add here that I am not a prolific writer. I tend to go in waves but once on a roll I become engrossed. Writing absorbs me. It gives peace and a sense of freedom. It is about getting started.
Sometimes what you write is frankly embarrassing. But a lot of it isn’t and as a result in 2014 I was advised to find a good arranger, which is how the album came about. It was launched with the help of an Arts Council grant and a successful crowdfunding campaign at a multi-media event, which included an exhibition, video installation, In Conversation and live music performance to considerable acclaim.
In 2017 I started performing a little again, this time more comfortably, having learnt to shake off some of those pressures I would previously put on myself. I was also singing my own songs which gave me an enormous sense of fulfilment and pride.
Now in early 2018 I have embarked on my next big creative project. A memoir. A book with stories from my life, poems, snippets and new songs to go with it. To be unleashed in 2019 – the year of my 60th birthday.
I have been on a massive adventure over the last few years, in ways I never believed possible. It hasn’t been at all easy at times – a serious roller coaster at times. But it has been quite extraordinary. I have learnt so much and there aren’t many parts of it I would change because of that.
Let the adventure continue!
About Jude Adams
Jude Adams (59) is a singer/songwriter. Her first album, This Girl, This Woman, aged 57, is the result of the impact that M.E. had on her life.
She is an inspirational role model for older women and her message is: age is no barrier and dreams can be achieved with a little determination and self-belief.
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