Why My Next Album Can’t Live up to the Past

Back in the studio working on my second piano album!

It’s official… I’ve begun working on my second piano album!  I plan to record most of it over the course of this summer, and I expect to release it in early spring of 2015—perhaps sooner or later depending on how many other projects I’m doing.  I’m hoping to make it longer than Airbornehopefully around 40 or 45 minutes.  As of right now, I’ve completed two compositions with another almost done, bringing me to around twenty minutes of music.

I was hoping to come home from college with enough material completed to record another album right away.  And I wanted to be more active on my blog throughout the past year, release singles, produce other artists, and play more gigs, but life happened…

The truth is that last semester was a disaster.  Even so,  I refuse to let anything hold me back from my dreams.  When things get hard, you can choose to give up or you can keep moving forward, one agonizing step at a time.  Today I’m choosing to make an album in spite of the semester.  Setbacks only make me work even harder.

Right now, the biggest obstacle for the new album is trying to live up to Airborne.  No matter what I do, I always feel like what I’m writing now will never be as good as the songs on the last album.  I find myself wishing I could go back to the way things were a year ago, for so many reasons…

Last year, God did things in my life that I never would have believed could be possible.  I went through some rough times, but in spite of it, God’s presence became as near and real to me as my own life, and I’ll never be the same.  But this past semester, in another dark time, I prayed and prayed but seemed to be in a spiritual drought.  If only things were how they were last year, I told myself…

I had such a great response from people with Airborne. Can I do it again?
I had such great responses from people about Airborne. Can I do it again?

Last year was also the most productive year in composition that I’d had in five years.  It seemed like anything I touched turned to gold.  People were moved to tears when I debuted “Precipice” at my spring recital.  I got dozens of emails and letters from people telling me how much they enjoyed the album (and I still do sometimes).  One person told me they played it in their car while in a parking lot, and strangers started asking what the music was so they could get a copy for themselves.  I can’t help but wonder if what I’m writing now will touch people in the same ways that Airborne did.  And lately, composing has not come as easily as last year, and I long for the inspiration of yesterday…

But you know what?  Not only is it impossible to go back in time or to change this past semester, but it wouldn’t necessarily be beneficial.  I’m not willing to claim that everything happens for a reason, and, in doing so, pour salt on open wounds.  But I do believe that both the good things and the bad things make us who we are.  I can no longer believe that God directly sends pain on innocent people, but I do believe that somehow, He can work everything for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

No, I can’t make another Airborne, because I’ve learned more as a composer and as a musician, and I’ve lived and experienced things I hadn’t a year ago.  But what I can do is make this next album the best it can be as itself.  It will still sound like me, but it will be different, too.

On the new album, you’ll hear my first post-tonal piece (don’t worry, it’s still melodic).  You’ll hear a more sophisticated touch in my playing.  You’ll hear a piece I wrote that explores the meaning of consciousness. Most of all, you’ll hear things I couldn’t have written without having the year I’ve had.

Why try to live up to the past when you can create a new future?

One thought on “Why My Next Album Can’t Live up to the Past

What do you think?