Monday, June 23, 2014

We are all Goldblooded

The other day I read a great post by Veronica Varlow, over on her fantastic Danger Diary blog about one of her favorite musicians titled "Jack White and How to Dissect Our Heroes".  It really resonated with me, as it's close to a subject I've been wanting to talk about for a while, but have been unable to put into words. So I'm deciding to sort of 'expand' on her post...

Naming rock stars (and artists in general) as my heroes is something I can really relate to. Since I was a young kid, I've always looked up to them and idolized them. What, indeed, is it about them that prompts us to christen them with the word "heroes"?  After all, the word 'hero' comes with certain implications, and it's kind of a lofty thing for someone to aspire to be, no?

So how does one earn that title?

We each have our own requirements, but Veronica's are most accurate:  They NEVER apologize for what they do, they always push the envelope, and they have the uncanny ability to let it all go...  (*cue Elsa's song from 'Frozen' here, haha*)

 Along with all of that, the biggest characteristic that makes somebody a hero for me is the fact that they are NOT perfect..  they are flawed, and honest about being flawed.. because we, ourselves are flawed. Why would you want to look up to somebody who is 100% perfect? It would just serve to make you feel worse about yourself, and give you something much too unrealistic to strive for.  The fact that the ones you DO look up to have overcome their struggles and sometimes even utilize their issues and channel them into the art that we love and respond to, encouraging us to do the same... That is a hero.


Take two of my top heroes, for example:  Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I've been a huge fan of these two singers for years, now. And while other artists that I've admired sometimes fall down the list for one reason or another, these are two that have always (and probably always will remain) at the top. I've mentioned Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance fame before, and the guy in the photo at the top of this post is Mat Devine, known primarily for his band Kill Hannah. Both started with not much more than a dream and have spent good chunks of their lives working hard at it.

Neither of them is perfect, and to this day they still struggle with  a fickle industry, critics and naysayer, legal as well as personal drama. They still have their ups, downs and go through big changes. But the important thing is they keep going.

Not only that, I also admire them for trying new things:
After announcing the 'end' of My Chemical Romance last year, Gerard is still around. He is preparing a solo album, he continues to draw and write his comics, forever keeping in touch with his creativity and even the other heroes and former members of MCR are busy with their own projects, all vastly different and unique to them. Mat also took a break from his own band, tried his hand at acting in Broadway for a bit, and now he is embarking on his own solo act, taking a huge risk with producing it himself, and putting his whole heart into it.

It's tough to carve out your own niche, especially when you've spent so much time on one thing, that people have come to associate you with it exclusively. Since graduating from college last year, I've found myself at a point where I'm having a tough time deciding where to go next.  I've spent seven years studying fashion design, only to realize at the end that I don't even know if it's what I want as a career anymore. And believe me, it hasn't been easy admitting something like that. I have moments when I feel like a failure. Like I've wasted so many years on something that I don't even want to pursue anymore. And it's not that I don't fully enjoy it any more, it's just that I've changed so much as a person, and I want to try new things. I'm still searching for my own voice and my own place in the world... And that is completely okay.  My heroes have shown me time and time again that it is OKAY.

It is okay to be flawed.
It is okay to change paths. 
It is okay to hit forks in the road.
It is okay to try new things and make yourself happy.

The first time I met Mat in 2008, after presenting him with a notebook filled with fashion sketches.  I got to meet him again in 2009, as you can see on my Instagram here

So where am I going with all of this? What is my point?

My point is that one of my heroes needs some help in achieving a dream. Mat Devine has embarked on a crowd funding project to make his Wrongchilde solo album a reality, without the help of a major record label. For a meager $10, you can pre order a digital download of the album (to be released later this year), or if you feel like giving a little more, there are some super sweet exclusives that you can't find anywhere else on the planet, including a vial necklace containing actual liquid gold... And not only that, for every ten of those necklaces sold, Mat plans on donating a pint of blood to the American Red Cross. (And 5% of proceeds after the initial goal is reached goes to them as well!). Oh! and of course, there's a free gift of a song download in it for you: a special track called "Falling in Love will kill you" featuring Gerard Way!

"The title of my new album, Gold Blooded, is a phrase that symbolizes the spirit of youth, and to me, the greatest way to maintain our youth is to face the things that scare us, and to continuously defy the tendency to hide inside our comfort zones."

If you've been searching for a way to "pay it forward", please consider supporting an independent artist, because making a living in this manner is hard enough as it is. I pledged some last night, because I hope to someday be able to be my own boss and make a living from doing what I love to do.  

Check out the project page by clicking right here
 There are 58 days left until the goal is reached!!

And if you feel like it, please share who some of your own heroes are, and why. I'd love to know.

Until next time,



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