Lately, I’ve been thinking about the responsibility that comes with being an artist. It’s a big one, and I wish everybody would remember that. Perhaps I’m a little old school at heart and a little too serious about what my role is, but I think many of us have forgotten just how important our platforms are.
Before I decided to pursue music full-time, I was a Pre-kindergarten assistant teacher and it really, truly prepared me for everything I do now. As a teacher, every day was a performance of being calm, level-headed, commanding and in control of everything, regardless of whatever was going on in my personal life. My job was to teach little children to be empathetic, thoughtful, independent individuals - to imbue knowledge without imbuing your own perspectives, and to remember that however they choose to digest it is up to them and out of your control. That, at the end of the day, you’re a passing vessel of information in their lives and they’ll probably forget about you in a few years, but whatever legacy you leave behind as a teacher - how to tie your shoes, how to write your name, how to share with your friends - are all lessons they could potentially find useful for the rest of their lives. It’s an (almost) selfless, under-appreciated role, but it’s essential.
This was my experience for three years prior to singing, and I plan on using the same approach to what I do now. Being an artist has given me an opportunity to express myself in a way that was stifled in my former role, but I don’t want to forget my foundation. My experience has grounded me and made me so conscious to the kind of effect I, and other artists in my position, could potentially have on people. It’s not just about me and my own needs, but what I can do for, and how I relate to others. Cliché, I know, but there’s truth to it. We live in a world where we can be so preoccupied by our own immediate needs that we forget just how important it is to be concerned with the well-being of those around us. And as an artist I waver, consumed with my own self-expression and self-satisfaction. But that’s not why I want to be here.
I’m here to be responsible for myself and my peers. And I plan to do just that.