As a self-employed singer, songwriter, teacher and producer of almost 40 years, Lynn Miles knows the ins and outs of the Canadian music scene. Miles has released 12 albums since 1996, touring North America and Europe several times. In 2003, her collection Unravel won the Juno Award for Roots and Traditional solo album of the year. Her 2005 work, Love Sweet Love, won several Canadian Folk Music Awards. Miles’ most recent album, Road, combines a series of songs she recorded with guitarist Keith Glass over 15 years of touring. She’ll be performing at Edmonton Folk Fest this August with the band Three Women and the Truth.
Miles says that the main motivation behind her music is a desire to “write a better song and do a better show”. There’s one thing in particular that makes this happen. As an audience member it’s easy to forget the time and effort that needs to go into every song to make it incredible. Yet practice is what makes a musician great!
“There’s a studio in Austin, Texas, and their catchphrase is ‘rehearse or suck’,” Miles says. “These are wise words”. Although she admits it’s taken her a while, Miles has been able to create a system and maintain a work ethic that continues to help her reach her personal musical goals. It might be tough to drag yourself to the studio some days, but in the end the practice will pay off.
For Miles, it’s essential to put your mental health first. While it may seem that there are more important things to focus on when deadlines are piling up, ignoring a mental health issue will only make it worse to deal with later on. There are many resources to help you deal with addiction, depression, or any other difficult situations you might struggle with (see the end of this article). It’s also very important to have a supportive team around you. Having someone who understands your position can be an enormous help when you’re trying to overcome the inevitable obstacles that pop up along any career path. Having a supportive team especially crucial when you’re receiving critiques of your work.
“Always consider the source of any criticism received,” says Miles. “If you respect the source, take notes. If you don’t, keep walking”. At the end of the day, you won’t please everyone. Remind yourself whose opinions you most value, and listen to them above all else.
Even as an experienced musician, Miles still finds she’s learning new things every day. Of particular significance to her is the rise of the internet and its impact on the music industry. Miles is adapting to the new technology that has changed the face of the arts and business sectors over the past 20 years. While it’s important to be well-versed in the technologies of today, keep an eye on what may be ahead so you can be ready for whatever comes next! You can find out more about Lynn and her work at her website.
If you’re looking for help with mental health in Ottawa, you can contact the Ottawa and Region Distress Centre (613-238-3311), Info Social (811/ 1-866-APPELLE), or the Mental Health and Addiction Services of Ottawa (613-722-6914).
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