Mine is a face that no-one would revere
My voice is loud but barely makes a sound
My light is brightest when nobody’s around
Rather be a falling tree
My mind’s a chaos of nightmares, thoughts and dreams
My mood is shifting and volatile at times
My skin is patterned with unique fractal lines
Rather be a falling tree
Proud to be a falling tree
Words and music by Kerry Jackson-Kay
Performed and produced by Kerry Jackson-Kay
Something that constantly humbles me is just how many really good musicians, writers and artists there are out there who no-one’s ever heard of. Sometimes you encounter them in small DIY gigs and open mics, playing for themselves in the back rooms of folk pubs or, more recently, in discreet corners of the internet where they show their work with no expectation of commercial success, fame, adulation or financial reward – they create because it’s who they are, what they do and how they express themselves. This is the original meaning of the word “amateur”, which has shifted over the years to a patronising insult mostly due to insecure professionals justifying their worth (I used to be one of those insecure professionals before I figured out where my priorities lay).
I came to regard the old philosophical question of whether a tree falling in the forest makes a noise if no-one is there to hear it as a perfect metaphor for artistic intent. There are locations on planet Earth that are rarely explored where beautiful species of plants, trees and fauna can arise, briefly thrive and either evolve into something else or become extinct without any human ever knowing they existed at all. The sound made by a falling tree, the beauty of an undiscovered species or the expression of an unknown piece of art exists at its point of time and contributes to the sum total of life even if it exists only briefly and dies with its creator and no-one is so important that their attention and approval is a requirement for authenticating existence. Many great artists were only ever discovered and recognised posthumously – while I’m not nearly conceited enough to imagine I might join them one day, it does put a perspective on the importance of recognition. My old music teacher once told me that no-one can change what you are, but whether you are recognised as such is a different matter.
I personally have no particular desire to be famous – as far as I can tell it involves giving up far too much freedom, privacy and integrity in return for whatever benefits it might bring, though others might feel differently. Having said all that, it does feel better to have an audience than to be ignored.