Well. What can I say? The past few months have been absolutely crazy. I have been on a massive self-discovery journey in 2016. The summer of 2016 is one I would like to put to bed, but the irony of it is, and I hate this to sound like a total cliche – but I came out of it a better and stronger person. I have entered the UK itunes chart this week with my first ever self-penned solo single ‘The Grass Is Greener’ and I am heading home to Belfast in 3 weeks to perform my solo concert ‘Christmas Unplugged’ at the Black Box on December 18th.
It seems like a lifetime ago I wrote the Belfast Times blog about my first date with my now ex-partner. They say everyone comes in and out of your life for a reason. It’s true. This man made a massive impact on me. I fell head over heels in love, I got my heart broken, and now I am standing at the ‘other side’ with my head held high, much higher than it was before I was with him, and when I was with him.
I’m a delicate soul. I truly am. I may be able to stand on stage in front of thousands of people or perform on live TV to hundreds of thousands, and when I put my stage persona aside, I am a sensitive person. For years I have been chasing and running after my career dream. I am terribly ambitious and I love working hard towards my aspirations so much that I actively avoided love or any kind of relationship since 2008. I really deprived myself of a wonderful feeling. My ex-partner swept me off my feet and massively pursued a relationship with me. I didn’t ask him to be my partner. He asked me. I didn’t say ‘I love you’ first. He did. I remember the first night I ever met him, his words were ‘I want a boyfriend’. As much as it pains me to say it, I literally just filled a void in his life. After a few weeks of dating he told me the usual ‘I have never felt this way in my life etc etc’, and I must admit, I loved every second of it. This kind of attention felt just as good, if not better than any sort of applause I had ever received on stage. I went with it. I loved it. I said ‘yes’! I became his partner. I loved him. I really, really did – a bit too much, looking back on it. Everything about him drove me crazy. Everyone around me told me I was the best version of me in this new relationship. All of his friends told me they’d never seen him so happy, and he even went on to tell me he thought he had met his ‘life partner’. Then one day. BANG. I catch him lying. The trust was deleted, instantly. I will not go into it but the relationship had to end. On the spot.
My ex partner is a young, successful man who owns his own property in central London. The city is his playground and I was just another toy on his conveyor belt. Not a very easy pill for me to swallow. I went on a downward spiral, and it wasn’t pretty, and here is where I want to give some advice to anyone reading this:
Stay away from Social Media when you are in a fragile state. We live in a world where we feel we have to record almost everything online, like it is a diary. After my break up I was deprived of massive amounts of sleep, and I wasn’t eating properly and I literally felt pain in my chest like my heart was breaking. I cried myself into my one or two hours of sleep every night then I woke up crying. I was a mess. My break up was like a death because the cut off in contact with my partner was so severe and sudden after I decided it was somehow appropriate to do a massive Facebook status about my split and why it happened. Was I right to do it? Some argue yes, some say no. There is no right or wrong way to deal with a break-up. I was a good, solid partner to my ex and all this did was give him reason to point the finger at me like I was ‘unstable’. Any good I did throughout our relationship didn’t matter anymore, all because I got sucked into thinking the world would want to know my business, because of society’s relationship with Social Media. If anyone reading this is going through a break up or a difficult period, lift the phone and call a parent, call a friend, don’t give too much of yourself away on the fickle world of Facebook. Are those 500/1000/2000 friends on there really your friends? No. Rise above it and maintain class. That’s my advice. However, Facebook can be helpful and on your side in some cases, as I was about to find out……
So what next? Well write a song, of course! Hahaha! I laugh but it’s true. That’s what I did, and I really didn’t anticipate the reaction I was about to receive. I remember thinking back to my partner’s very first conversation with me – ‘I want a boyfriend’. I remember thinking ‘ The grass was greener for him on both sides’. My ex wanted so desperately to be in a relationship, then when he was in it he wanted to be back on the ‘other side’. This was all flying through my head during a yoga class. Yoga clears my head. I ran out of the class and wrote down the lyrics and sang the melody into my phone. Days later I had the piano track recorded and that night I sang it into my phone and uploaded it to Facebook. Yes. My good old friend – Facebook. Well, little did I know within 4 days that almost 100,000 people would fall in love with my song. I have done a lot of things in my career. I have performed naked on the West End stage, I have sang with some of the biggest pop starts on the planet, I have sang live for millions on live TV, but nothing like this. My own created work was striking a chord with people from America to New Zealand and all over Europe. I was being messaged from every corner of the globe. That weekend I sang it at Belfast Pride and the audience’s reaction confirmed I had to invest. This had to be a single.
I recorded it at London’s famous Miloco Studios where Adele, Oasis and Florence and the Machine record their material and I went on to work with Award-winning Film Director George Clarke on the music video in my hometown of Lurgan at St Peter’s Chapel. Why here? Well as time went on, I really didn’t want to have to continue thinking about my ex whilst singing this song, so I revisited the lyrics and realised it was the perfect tribute to two of my best friends who are no longer here. My two grandmothers. When the chapel agreed to the filming I literally jumped with joy.
So here I am today with a song I wrote and produced that I am massively proud of, that is getting radio play, that has entered the itunes charts, accompanied by a beautiful music video. Six months ago I could hardly get myself out of bed. I genuinely couldn’t. My heart was broken.
Time really does heal. As much as you don’t want to hear it at the worst of times, it really does. My ex partner genuinely made me realise my full potential. He made me realise that I am a good boyfriend, and that I can love. He made me realise that I am an absolute fighter and will not let anything floor me. He surfaced the best body of work I could have ever produced. I genuinely thank him – for the good and the bad. I would not change a moment of this year, as much as heartache is the worst feeling in the world, it’s the reason I came to understand what I’m made of. I now have the closure I never received in my relationship.
I’d love to see you all at the Black Box on December 18th. I am so excited to bring an evening of my original songs and festive/theatre favourites to life with some of the best musicians in Northern Ireland. My last one sold out, get your tickets here.