STORY BY Doug Balmain
Published: September 30, 2013
The following Truth Is Cool experience and expression of feelings, from singer-songwriter Doug Balmain, zeros in on what it takes to live your truth. Here’s a free download from his debut album Troubled Mind.
A recent victim of love-gone-wrong and overwhelmed by the thoughts that filled my head, I was searching for something other than a bottle to ease my mind. In an act of desperation I reached for a pen and paper, hoping that writing my thoughts would provide me with some sort of release…it did. My first song was an accident, I didn’t mean to write it, but once it was written I was hooked. I knew next to nothing about music, recording, performing, or anything as it related to the music industry; all I had was a neglected acoustic guitar, a notepad full of lyrics, and a newfound passion for music that I knew I could not ignore.
About a year later, after immersing myself in music and developing a sound, it came time to record. I organized my album, raised over $8,000, and walked into a studio for the first time. After spending 9 months feeling my way through multiple trial-and-error scenarios, my debut album, Troubled Mind, was officially released in April of this year.
Troubled Mind is an extremely personal album and releasing something so personal was, at first, very intimidating. But, after it released I began receiving feedback from listeners expressing how the lyrics had touched them and helped them in their own lives. That was life changing for me; it put things into perspective and instilled in me the importance of giving honest, heartfelt music to people. From a professional standpoint, it dramatically changed how I think about my music and how I am approaching the next album. I want to create my next album in a way that communicates a story but lets the listener fill in their own details to make the story their own.
While there have been tremendous personal victories and wonderful moments, the lifestyle that music has since taken me to is not the comfortable or glamorous pursuit that people imagine the life of a professional singer/songwriter to be. In fact, it has been exhausting and uncomfortable; it doesn’t let a person hide from themselves, I’m forced to challenge my thoughts and grapple with my demons every day.
Not long ago, I was having a less-confident day and I confided in a friend telling him that I wasn’t sure I could do this, and that it might be time for me to just go find a job. For a while my friend didn’t say anything, he just sat there and stared at me; when he did open his mouth all he said was, “Balmain, if you leave songwriting, your soul will die.” That is all he needed to say, I knew he was right. For as difficult as it is, it is equally beautiful, and I will be forever grateful to have found a pursuit that haunts, challenges, and pushes me in the way that music and songwriting does. I’ve been blessed with the curse of the songwriter; music and I will be together for a long time.
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