I hope this September Sunday is seeing you well. I write from a chilly, but sunny Derbyshire.

I’ve spent the weekend getting my house in order and practising the pieces I’m going to be recording this week!! I cannot wait, and after the nerves of the last post, I’m coming to you today from a place of positivity and excitement!

I wanted to take a moment to share with you how this tune came to be, the inspiration behind it and how place and space is very often my starting point for a lot of my art. 

Oppland Upland has been with me since the summer of 2016, when it appeared to me atop a high mountain paradise in Norway. You can see the photo of the incredible view in this post.

Ever since I was a small child, the thought and sensation of being able to fly has been a curious fascination. I can vividly remember childhood dreams of flying over the village I grew up in, seeing all the tiny houses and gardens, and cars on the road, spread out beneath me like a model village.

I used to stand at my bedroom window watching the sparrows and blue tits coming and going to the bird boxes outside my window, diligently building their nests in the spring. I would shut my eyes tight and pray that I could grow wings just like them so that I could swoop down from the bedroom window and fly out into the sky.

Nothing could feel more free…

Don’t worry – I never jumped…

but I have always liked the sensation I get when I’m high up in the hills, or on top of a mountain. I find it’s the closest I’m prepared to get to free flying! Sometimes, in some of my darkest days with depression, I’d get a sudden craving to be up high in the hills and I’d drive out to Malvern (my closest highest place when I lived in Kidderminster) to walk up onto the Worcestershire Beacon. One time I did this during a massive storm! I could lean fully into the wind it was so strong! I got some cracking photos that day. Here are a few:    

As an artist, I have always been interested in the connection we have between space and place and the effect that has on health, well being and creative outputs.

For me there can be no art I am truly proud of, if it didn’t at first come from a place or space. Landscapes are one of such places that truly speak to me as an artist, both visually and aurally. 

For me, landscapes can visually draw sound waves, musical passages or the overall shape of a piece. The way light falls across the land, across the sky; illuminating features that make them stand out to my eye. It all feeds into the creative beast within and then something new and different is born.

Maybe a tune, maybe a piece of writing, maybe a photograph or drawing. Maybe immediately, or maybe days/months/years later.

Art to me can both be incredibly visceral and intellectual, either separately or at the same time. Mostly I strive to make sense of the world around me, as my borderline Asperger’s dictates. But when left with the freedom to play, the Creative Beast can come up with some of it’s best (read: most fulfilling) work.

(Note to future Mel: give yourself freedom from intellectual necessity more often! Love from your Creative Beast)

The balance of the analytical, rational conscious brain with the creative, irrational subconscious brain is something I am perpetually fascinated by – both in my art and in my music teaching work. 

I like to use processes that incorporate the outputs of both, which usually means I’m in constant flux between creation and analysis until I feel the piece is finished. But the end can be difficult to determine! When is a piece truly finished?!

I realise I am going into great depth here about my creative process, and might not be making much sense! It is the first time I have ever written it down and it’s all freely flowing quite naturally from my fingertips up onto the screen. It makes sense to me, but I would welcome your thoughts.

Do you ever experience moments like mine when up high, or staring at a wide open landscape scene in front of you that sparks off some other creative wizardry?!  

What are your favourite places to be and why?

If you have enjoyed what you’ve read here, please help me spread the word about my project by sharing this post with a friend or family member.

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For those of you who’d like to support this project and the ongoing work beyond making the album, you can sign up to become one of Mel’s Angels through my Patreon where I’m offering exclusive behind the scenes updates, sneak peeks and recordings (as well as my monthly melodeon Melinars).

Happy playing!

[:]||| Mel |||[:]