Friday, 09 November 2012
If it wasn't for the inspiration of looking up musicians and artists who not just have Asperger's Syndrome, but have various types of disorders, I'd probably be doing a lot of questioning in whether I'd be doing music.
Ever since my childhood, I've been into music, but it wasn't until I was in college that I started to take the idea of making music seriously. When I went into college, I took with me an electronic keyboard, played guitar and practiced various songs on the college piano. It took me a while to really work up the nerve to start writing lyrics because hearing myself sing was frightening at first. Ever since I settled on the idea of taking on electronica and anti-folk music, I grew interested in the idea of communicating what it is like to have Asperger's Syndrome through a trilogy concept album. But before this, I had to do two things: get to know the music industry and overcome my disorder enough to survive things like meeting people who would possibly like my music, singing on demand in public, and overcoming the anxiety of trying to create a song that I am comfortable sharing. After all, making music is the easy part if you know where you want to go. It is the social aspect that we have to worry about.
This is where I had to look to artists like Gary Numan, Craig Nicholls, Owl City and Ladyhawke to see how they dealt with it. I've read plenty of interviews with them. Two of them were told about their conditions late and just dealt with it creatively till then. Ladyhake dealt with it not just by being open about it in interviews, but also by singing about it here and there on her album, Anxiety. In fact, Pip Brown herself described it on a BBC interview like this: "The music business expects you to be almost like an actor. A crazy, out there, vivacious, happy person. That's just not the case with me. I'm shy and I don't like most of the things which are associated with being a musician... I have routines I need to do before going on stage to chill out. I think the music industry is full of Aspergers people and they just don't realise it."
When it comes to the idea of making and sharing music, what relieved me was not just her ability to tell people to chill about the Syndrome ("people shouldn't be scared of it or anything. I only have a very mild form of it and there are some people who have it so bad that they find it too hard to even write a message to me - I love that I've been able to talk to people and be able to relate (to them) like that."), but that I wasn't really alone in the whirlwind of it all. "I don't feel like I can sing. I have these voices in my head telling me that I suck and I can't do it. There's one side of me saying suck it up and do it. And there's another side that says everybody's looking at you and they're judging you." That, to me, is the most annoying part of having Aspergers, after a while of being outside of society's expectations, the question of whether you can give them anything worth giving always comes up and messes with your self-esteem. That's one problem with having Aspergers sometimes: being sensitive means we often care too much.
The one thing I admire about these artists (amongst other people, including the creator of Pokemon) is that they never let the bad part of having Aspergers affect them too much. That is how it is with anyone doing stuff, regardless of their limitations. The more they don't let it get them down, the more they work at it, the more likely they are able to try and transcend their syndrome. With that, I feel like maybe trying my hand at music won't be too bad. If they can transcend it fine, why couldn't I?