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Reflections & fighting through the pressure...

The night before, starting to feel the pressure, I reminded myself about the origin and meaning behind each song: the emotions, the inspiration – the reason for its being. Its not just notes, or anyone could have written them, and nobody can play your notes, with your story.

Through all the intense, amazing, thorough rehearsing and hours and hours of personal practice to give this album my all, and what it deserves, I realised I was becoming so overly analytical and self conscious, with the building nerves and natural pressure just to do my best.

I don't usually get performance / recording nerves usually, primarily from my improvising sessions, running Freedom and being plunged into the deep end over the years. Working with Nigel Kennedy, and what Orphy Robinson my mentor, continues to do to me!.... see if you sink or swim!... and so you swim! And a great learning experience realising you can cope and whats the worst that can happen? You fall on your face and get up again.

As Orphy reminded me again today when I spoke with him "It's only music nobody dies!"

As I advise others I work with, in times of nerves/ feeling overwhelmed / anxious /worried if others approve....(as we all naturally do even if its your own music).... One thing I say is to focus on the NOW. Look around you – see, feel, smell, notice... "see" & connect... I applied this to myself, ...and it reminded me to feel again and to see what I am trying to say...what is the point of this all? Why am I doing this? And there is a great deal,.. more than words...

...."What's in a tune?!"....much more than words or notes....

A big lesson: stand back, see and stand strong in knowing why you say what you say.

I don't get performance / recording nerves usually, primarily from my improvising sessions, running Freedom and being plunged in the deep end over the years, working with Nigel Kennedy, and what Orphy Robinson, my mentor, continues to go do me!.... see if you sink or swim!... and so you have to swim! A great learning experience realising you can cope and whats the worst that can happen? You fall on your face and get up again.

As Orphy reminded me again today when I spoke with him "It's only music nobody dies!"

What makes all the great artists them? Being themselves, and digging deep, and speaking out, proudly with their own voice and way of seeing. I hope I can honour that.

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Tori Handsley