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JLOWE: My creative journey and why I'm writing a blog

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

Happy 1 month of #TheLifeofJLOWE Blog!

Isn't it crazy how time flies?

Now that there's a few of you here who look forward to my Sunday blog posts as much as I do, I suppose I owe you an explanation as to why "all of a sudden" I've started a blog.

It's relatively easy to track my creative journey. I started playing piano at around age 5, and a few years later my music teacher suggested that I join her steelpan class. At around age 8 I joined that class, and fell in love with the steelpan. It was different...unique; yet familiar.

I played in a band called the CITIMUSIC Band and fell in love with live music. The idea of performing for audiences at first was intimidating, but nowadays I love the stage. I love to watch the smiles on people's faces, the emotions that the music evokes and most of all the unspoken connection that it creates between us.

But creativity to me isn't just music. It's any form of self-expression that I choose, whether that's musical notes, photos or words. It's how I release emotion and feelings. How I connect with the world around me and the people around me.

During the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, I had the opportunity to ground myself in Jamaica and it's creative industry while exploring my own personal brand as a musician and creative. I began to build a presence on social media by sharing past performances and at-home covers of popular songs on the steelpan. In retrospect, that was the beginning of my discovery of myself as a creative and a more intentional effort to put serious energy into what I previously considered to be "just a hobby".

I actually discussed the "hobbyfication" of the creative arts in Jamaica on an Instagram Live series/podcast that I hosted throughout the first few months of 2021. I got to speak to some amazing creators in Jamaica about their perspectives on the industry, and begin to come up with solutions to the issue. I'll dig deeper into that in a future blog post.

For now, you can watch the whole Instagram Live series here.

Back to sharing content on social media.

The more and more I shared those videos, the less and less I felt like I was sharing what I wanted to share. I hated the idea of getting lost in the algorithm. This idea of niching down so that Instagram or whatever social media app will push your content. This idea of suppressing parts of what you want to share to ensure that you're giving your audience what they followed you for.

See this post I made in 2020:

This blog is those stories. It's a step away from "justinlowemusic" and a step towards all of me. To the stories, experiences, advice and opinions that make me more than a musician. That make me Justin Lowe.

As I said in my first blog post, I've thought deeply about personal branding and what I want to convey. I want you understand that I, like each of you, am shaped by my experiences and interactions with the people and places around me. I am not perfect. I am far from it. Yet I hope that by sharing my experiences through the various small platforms that I have that I inspire even one person to realize what I've learnt in my years as a small creator through experience:

That is that there's only one you. Ever.

Sure, there's many people that play the steelpan. Sure, there's many people that are Jamaican-Chinese. Sure, there's many people that write a blog, and sure, there's many people who work in finance after attending Cornell.

When you compare yourself to others, you end up feeling less than what you are. You end up feeling like because you're not doing what someone else is doing, you're not great. You end up feeling like because you're not a version of someone else, you're not the best version of yourself.

But today, I challenge you to do an exercise that helps me to be grateful.

Take a moment. Think about yourself.

Mentally list a few things about yourself.

Think about how those things define you, and then think about how that combination of things defines you. That's how I feel grateful. And not just a general "gratefulness", but a gratefulness for what I have that makes me, me.

Because while I'm sure that I'm not the first nor the last steelpan soloist, nor the first nor last Cornellian, I'm sure that I'm the only Justin Lowe that has the family that I have and love, the only Justin Lowe that has the friends that I have and love and the only Justin Lowe that has the experiences that I have and love. I'm the only one living #TheLifeOfJLOWE.

And that's why I'm writing a blog. Because I have a perspective that only I have, in the way that you have a perspective that only you have. And I want to share mine with you, in the hopes that you recognize the value in your own. Not necessarily so you start a blog (haha) but so that you remember to give yourself the grace and love that you deserve.

Take care of yourselves, and tell someone that you love today that you love them.

Everyone can use a little love sometimes.

Until next Sunday,

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Feb 05, 2023


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