2019 has been a lot of ups but a lot more downs. Music has always helped me interpret the world around me and my experiences, and writing has always helped me get out what I’m feeling or thinking, and put it into something tangible that I can go back to and hold in my hands.
I haven’t been able to write as much or investigate as much as I wanted to this year but the articles I have written, whether that has been album/song reviews, an interview with artist about hope, politics and music in an age of Donald Trump and Brexit, critiques on the music industry or the ugly divisive monster that is Brexit or sitting with refugees and hearing their stories, have pushed me and made me grow to become better writer and journalist. Whether it was the writing itself or the topics I covered, this year has been turning point, no matter how uncomfortable the journey has been.
Below is a snapshot of my most popular articles from 2019. I know the general consensus amongst creatives is that you should create for you first and foremost, which I always do, but do not underestimate the power of seeing an article you’ve written suddenly receiving comments from strangers or being shared on social media or get a sudden spike in stats. Just the fact that other people read my work from all around the world is surreal and yes, an ego boost.
But I also know the flip side that a lot of what I write and put out into the world and how well it does is down to luck. Some of the best things I have written have disappeared into the shadows and others that aren’t my favourites have become really popular. And other times, it is completely random and weird.
A review I wrote about Birdtalker and Joy Williams’ song ‘December Song’ always spikes around November/December time because I am the only person to have reviewed that song, which is pretty cool. Or sometimes it is unexpected and random. When Jason Isbell performed his ‘White Man’s World’ from his album The Nashville Sound in December 2018 at AmericanaFest, which was broadcast by CMT, hits to my review of the song shot up exponentially because again, I was one of the few journalists who reviewed the song.
So thank you to everyone who reads my work, whether you agree or not with my thoughts, shares it with friends or on social media, comments on my articles or subscribes to my website. And thank you to all the artists, labels, PR’s, political organisations and fellow journalists and writers who have supported me throughout 2019. It means a lot and more.