This week’s Q and A features rock soul vocalist Simon Meli / front man of the Widowbirds rocker of The Voice … Facades, chasing success, day jobs, family, fear, purpose… I always buzz after having a conversation with this guy! Thanks for the wisdom brother!
In an industry where expression collides with business, how do you keep the passion to play/write music alive?
For me, I feel fortunate that I was brought up in a working-class family where my parents encouraged me to have a regular job that paid for the passions in life, where I could then exclude money or business matters from music. However, the difficulty lies here in the Australian music climate. Sadly, in the end, it costs a musician to play and create, as well as tour this country.
The times have changed drastically since the trends of the bands I loved in my upbringing. The key is how to navigate the changes. Back to my first point, my left hand feeds the right hand and right hand feeds the left. Balance.
Have you ever come close to leaving music? If so, what prompted it and what inspired you to stay?
Yes, but not a leaving as such – how could you ask music to leave your body? Your soul? Your spirit?
I struggled for many years with the cliché rock’n’roll expectations of youths in a band. Being young and in a band, thinking “you gotta do this ‘n’ that to be cool man”. The sex, the drugs and the rock’n’roll… rock’n’roll music sure, but the other two… are fabricated and immoral.
That never truly resonated with me, so I struggled to try it in on for years thinking this was “the way”, yet only to realise it’s all a facade and an industry heavily and completely ego driven. My soul got fed up, and it woke me up out of this vicious and material world of commercial music.
I also struggled with the response of this façade by the percentage of gig-goers who believe the same cliché. With all due respect, people are free to live life the way they wish to, but their energy became something that greatly affected me. So, I chose to remove my person from the equation rather than music from me!
The problem I had was not with the music, it was the environment. Now I much prefer to navigate toward occasions that reflect a wholesome, real and emotionally-rewarding experience.
How do you stay true to your vision, in an industry that is filled with opinion?
It depends on how much you rely on the industry, and how intact your truth will be. Everyone has their own vision, and much of that is to do with reaching this “measured success”.
People should lean on the idea that they have success already! You have been given a gift to express yourself using sounds.
I’ve removed the need to see myself on a plateau within the music industry and play for the feeling that a great performance gives you.