The other day I was doing what I do every day – which may surprise you is more along the lines of wife/motherhood rather than music (which when done every day can sometimes seem like I’m living the movie Groundhog Day), when I started thinking about the path ahead. What is coming in 2010? And beyond?
The prospect is a little scary, but it’s also exciting for me because when I envision what my life will hopefully look like when I’m 85 years old, I want it to be filled with love and family. Yet right now, as I’m in my early 30′s, sometimes the concept of knowing that family is more important than anything else on this planet sometimes only really strikes me during those fleeting moments of near-misses, or ”I-wish-I-would-have-known-this-years-ago-instead-of-only-just-now” moments.
For example, I look at my son who is now almost 20 months old, and realize what a big boy he has become lately. Then I look at photos that were only taken a few months ago and see how much he has grown. THEN I look at his photos from when he was a tiny baby (which only seems like yesterday for me) and I have one of those “I wish someone would have told me that they grow up so fast” kind of moments. But wait, yes, I’m sure someone actually did tell me that. And then I have a moment of realizing how much I want to savor every moment with this sweet little boy before, next thing ya know, he’s turning 18 and going to college.
I have also been thinking a lot about the musical journey I have taken since releasing my first album, “Key of Sea” at the beginning of 2007…
When I released that album, I was a happy newlywed of 2 yrs, and only 28 years old. My days consisted of being lucky enough to have a work-from-home job where I could simultaneously work on my music as well. I remember many days where I could work on my music for 12 hours straight if I chose to, only stopping to eat or steal the occasional hug/kiss from my husband. Sometimes I would also work through the night. And then, when devoid of all creativity and filled with cabin fever, my newly college graduated husband and I would take off on whatever adventure suited us. Sometimes it was rollerblading on Alki Beach in West Seattle. Sometimes it was going over to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula and camping for the weekend. Or sometimes it was just going out to discover new restaurants.
We worked hard, but we also played hard.
I also performed quite a bit that year that I released my album. I would spend hours a day practicing and preparing so that my songs were as perfect as possible for the concerts. I enjoyed travelling to neighboring states to put on small concerts for my fans (which by the way was a new concept for me…I had “fans”?!). I also enjoyed spending hours a day at my gym exercising and keeping my body in shape.
Life was bliss.
Fast forward to now – February of 2010. Life is still bliss, but it’s a different kind of bliss. I really do feel so fortunate and blessed in my life. I still think my husband is as cute as when I met him and love spending time with him. And we have a family now - which is something we always wanted. I STILL feel so lucky that I can stay at home so that I can work on my music, however, aside from my work-from-home job is now that pays me (music and teaching), I also do a 24 hour a day job called motherhood. And I dare say that job is far more challenging, but the payback is far better.
I do miss the days when I had unlimited personal time to compose and record new music. Now, I have to wait for naptimes to do that, or when everyone else is sleeping at night. Which, doesn’t usually work for me lately either because being pregnant usually puts me in bed early these days.
I have tried to work on music while Preston is up and awake, but it’s usually highly interrupted. Which, don’t get me wrong, is perfectly understandable. If I were only 19 months old and couldn’t do many things for myself but had a lot of energy and desire to DO a lot, I would probably be pulling on my mom’s pantleg every 10 minutes too.
So I often find myself asking, “What is going to happen with my music over the next few years?”
Well, I am still going to pursue it. For certain. I want to keep working on my dreams and talents so my children can see that you can do anything if you try hard enough.
But I do feel a slight course change in my career.
When I released that first album, I feel that I really made a presense for myself in the music community. I had attention from filmmakers, and musicians alike. I had many expectations from people to be a heavy-hitter that year. And I really think that I did my best and accomplished a lot.
But now my expectations for myself are different. It’s not about quantity any more. It’s not about how soon I can get the new newest music out, or how many concerts I can do that year, or when I can release my next album.
It’s now about quality. Quality in my music, quality in my family life, quality in myself.
This new album that I’m currently working on, “Portraits”, has already evolved quite a bit from what it was originally intended to be. As I work on it (in my rare off time), I find myself yearning to dig deep within myself to create the absolute best music that I can. I find that deadlines don’t matter to me much any more. I would rather spend more time to get the best possible work out of myself than to produce something common or half-hearted. I find that I am really challenging myself as I compose/arrange the music. I have really been digging deep into my toolbox of skills for this album. And combined with the daily tasks and challenges I face as being a mother as well…it only makes the music I am creating more valuable to me.
So you will see a new Jennifer Thomas over the next year or more. She is no longer the carefree newlywed and the newcomer to the music scene. She is more grounded, more experienced and wise, and well…more grown up.
Thank you so much to all of my friends and fans who support me with your encouraging notes, emails, comments, etc. It lets me know that people are listening and waiting. And thank you most of all for your patience as I have evolved (and continue to evolve) from yesterday to today.