I had an interesting experience this Monday. For the first time in my life I did an interview where I was followed by a journalist and a photographer for the whole day. (Usually interviews last a couple of hours, tops.) I like seeing these kinds of stories in magazines myself about people that I’m interested in; where you get a glimpse of what the day-to-day life of someone I admire is like. It was quite something to be on the other side of that equation…
Despite having barely started the promotion of my upcoming album I can already tell that this time the whole process of doing PR will be so different than before. I felt a kind of freedom as the day progressed on Monday as I realized that the only person I am accountable to is me. This is new for me. No more lines to remember, no more lies… Having spent most of my career mouthing someone else’s opinions and agendas in interviews, it is thrilling to be tied to no one’s agenda but mine.
There’s an old clip of me on YouTube that I’ve come across.. This one’s from way back when I was 15 years old, giving an interview for a rather serious Finnish news-show called Ajankohtainen Kakkonen. It shows me as a timid teenager trying to sell an image of a confident and calculated artist, in words only though. Every gesture and the look on my face tells the real story, but the line that comes out of my mouth is: “I am using the media for my benefit.” Nice one. Rest assured, my 15-year-old self was not about to use anyone, much less the media, for my benefit. That is just one line among hundreds that were “implanted” into my brain at the time. We’re selling illusions, I was told. Well, that may work for some, but in Bartleby The Scrivener’s (Melville) words: “I would prefer not to.” I would rather a) not sell myself, and b) be real, not an illusion.
Getting back to my experience on Monday… I had fun! I now enjoy giving interviews because I like meeting new people, and I’m not particularly scared of my boundaries being crossed, as I know how to say no. I felt comfortable being myself all day, and I felt at peace even whilst being photographed doing my most ordinary, daily stuff. I didn’t feel the need to over-function, I trusted that who I am is enough.
I love my job, and all that it entails! It is not simply about music, creativity, and performing on stage anymore. Those used to be the only areas that I felt comfortable in… Now I relish the opportunity to do promotion, to talk to journalists, and through them to my audience. I enjoy the prospect of doing videos and filmed performances; I enjoy writing, and speaking out. I think that as an artist I potentially have a chance to speak about a plethora of things that interest me, both in lyrics and in discussion with people. I’m going to use this opportunity, and do right by my 15-year-old self in that hard-to-watch clip. I am the same person, but the difference is back then I wasn’t ready. And in all honesty I probably didn’t even want to be there. Now I do. And I am, indeed, ready.