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Why do we create?

Oly Sherman is an indie singer-songwriter from Sydney, Australia who has released an EP and a slew of singles since 2017. His latest single, “Bones” was released in May.

The music industry can often feel like a stifling environment to work in; there are outside pressures that can feel all too dictating on artists, particularly when it comes to the release of new music or work.

I believe that within society, there can be a fabricated sense in how musicians feel within the music industry. All artists initially put out their stuff to be judged, and it feels like the industry and the public alike can somewhat decide your career. Initially mixed with no advocate, no form of superannuation, no sick/annual leave, it’s no wonder it’s a difficult thing to do.

Ironically, it’s sometimes the low periods that flourish in creativity, that transform relatable songs that keep audiences coming to shows and streaming all of your stuff online. The question is why do we do it?

In following that innate desire to create, as artists, sometimes the compelling nature to keep making art that satisfies ourselves and fills us with that sense of validation is enough to keep us going. For a lot of us though, it is not always the case.

In regard to many of the amazing musicians I’ve worked with over the last two years and indeed myself, there come times where all you experience is negativity. Why aren’t things going the way I had planned it?

Instead of applying what you know to make things better, a lot of people naturally criticise their own work rather than be satisfied with whatever they’ve come up with, just because it’s their own. Again, that brings me back to the question, why do we do it?

When I was feeling low earlier this year about my career, I went to talk to my closest friends and band members. One in particular said that there doesn’t need to be any external interception these days when playing or making music. Sometimes there doesn’t need to be any certain goal, apart from maybe your own self-gratification. “Instead of seeking social legitimacy, I just do it because I remember how it makes me happy, and how it makes those around me happy”. I knew not only how important it is to work hard within yourself, but how important it is to listen and experience what other people have to offer. My brain used to always focus on what I’m missing or what I haven’t achieved yet.

A healthy and supportive community is everything in the music – and creative arts – scene. We make music and art because it makes us who we are, it makes us happy. Surrounding ourselves with like-minded people is one thing, but also being open-minded to the opinions of those outside ‘the craft’, yet close to you, is also crucial. In a broader sense, the more we talk about the things that bother us and hold us back, the more we open ourselves up for positive breakthroughs.

As I’ve played more and more shows, and after meeting and constantly playing with more and more people, it’s become prevalent, that more and more musicians are starting to talk about these feelings of doubt. Taking positive steps to monitor it and be attentive of the impact it may have on their and other people’s lives. Knowing that there is ALWAYS the support from everyone around you, and always remembering why we do this in the first place, I’ve never worked as hard for anything in my entire life. I feel like my songwriting has never been more positive, confident and most importantly, honest.