I just got back from the whirlwind that is NAMM in California, and let me tell you, it was everything I dreamed of and more. To give you some context: NAMM [the National American Music Merchant's Festival] has been on my radar since long before I moved to the States back in 2015, and it had always been on my bucket list to attend.
But this year, I didn't just attend - but I performed. And it was everything.
But it wasn't just about the lights, the music, and the adrenaline. This experience threw some hardcore truths my way, and I'm here to share them with you: no fluff, just real talk.
1. Keep It Real: The Stage vs. The Soul
Here's the thing: the stage can turn you into whoever you want to be. It's easy, too easy sometimes, to lose yourself in that persona. But here's the kicker – that's not just a musician's problem; it's a human problem. We all wear masks, but if we're not careful, we might forget who we are underneath.
It's a concept that I have struggled with countless times over my life - from my time as a young singer-songwriter: recording and releasing my first single when I was just 10years old, to fronting the hard rock band: Static Era.
Moving to the States: I continued to struggle with the Emma vs Emma G balance, and at NAMM, it hit me hard yet again. But I think I finally realized: embracing your true self, with all its quirks and vulnerabilities, is where your real power lies. It's about finding that sweet spot between who you are in the spotlight and who you are in the silence of your own room.
Whether you're a musician, a lawyer, a teacher, or a therapist: we all need an off-switch. And we all need to give ourselves permission to be 100% us.
2. Rest Isn't for the Weak
I've always struggled with taking time off.
If I'm being honest, it's probably got a lot to do with the fact that - by the time I was ten years old, I'd already had ten brain surgeries, which I channeled into thinking: NEVER TAKE A MOMENT FOR GRANTED!! This concept was only ever exacerbated when a close friend passed away when he was just 14years old [pneumonia]... and another best friend died at 21 [diabetes]. In fact, just recently: one of my dear friends died from his second battle with cancer at just 34.
So I've always just tried to jam pack everything into every single day... and this trip to LA was no different: performing, driving, endless networking, driving, and maybe squeezing in a few hours of sleep. Did I mention driving? [I hate LA traffic].
Running on empty doesn't make you a hero; it makes you human, and a tired one at that. High cortisol, stress through the roof – sound familiar? It's a reminder we all need: rest isn't optional; it's essential. Your body and mind will thank you for it. Don't wait until you're running on fumes to realize that.
3. Solitude: Your Secret Weapon
In the midst of all the chaos, the constant go-go-go, there's something incredibly powerful about being alone with your thoughts.
Remember: there's a huge difference between being lonely, and being alone. Being alone is about recharging, reflecting, and reconnecting with yourself. It's where some of your best ideas will come from. Trust me, learning to enjoy your own company is a game-changer for your mental clarity and creativity.
It's also a game-changer for songwriting. I'm just sayin 😉
4. Your Story is Your Superpower
Every song I belted out on that stage, from the anthems to the ballads, was a piece of me. And here's what I've learned: hiding your story isn't doing you any favors. The moments we often shy away from sharing are the very ones that can forge the deepest connections. When you open up, you give others permission to do the same. It's about finding strength in our shared experiences and building a community that gets it.
And I get it; it's scary. From singing songs about identity [Puppet], to anti-racism and praying for America [no actually; praying for the world: Superhero], turning coal into diamonds by recognizing our strength amidst trauma [Behind her Eyes], and clapping back against everyone who wishes you harm; knowing full well that you have overcome so much [Miss me with that]... but every time you let yourself share who you are: people not only honor you for your truth, but feel empowered to share theirs too. [I'm sure there's a Marianne Williamson quote here, somewhere].
5. The Impact of Your Message
Every note I played, every lyric I sang, was a message – to myself and to anyone who'd listen. Songs about love, resilience, identity – they're more than just tunes; they're reminders of who we are and what we stand for. It's easy to forget the power of our own voice, but at NAMM, surrounded by a sea of sound, the message was clear: what you say and how you say it matters. It's about using your platform, no matter how big or small, to make a difference.
So, there you have it. NAMM wasn't just a milestone; it was a reality check. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle, the persona, the endless grind. But at the end of the day, it's about staying true to yourself, giving yourself the break you deserve, cherishing your alone time, owning your story, and understanding the weight of your words. Music, like life, is about balance, authenticity, and the impact we make. Let's not forget that.
And when you're ready: I'd love to hop on a call with you to discuss how writing your own songs can help you turn your life lessons into lyrics, embrace your own emotions, and thus: improve your well being [whether or not you perform your songs is irrelevant, I promise!].
Simply click here to book a discovery call, and let's equip you with the creative roadmap to help you step into your authentic message, embrace who you are, and reclaim your mental and emotional well being.