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Reflections on 2022

2022 has been a very full and overall rather exciting year. Some significant events include a long-awaited family holiday overseas, some fantastic field trips, the 10 year anniversary of the Challis Singers, and my parents moving over to the north shore – and of course, the long-awaited launching of my album. It’s all too easy to continually look ahead at what needs to be done (and sometimes to be overwhelmed by it!), but I also want to take a few moments to look back and take stock of what I’ve achieved this year.

This year has seen the release of my first solo album, Oxytocin & Adrenaline. I think it was early 2019 when Bonnie suggested that we each start writing a solo album. That makes it three and a half years between the initial idea and the first song release in August 2022. A couple of the songs on the album were written before that time, but most of the hard work happened from mid-2020 onwards. For the last two years, it has been very intense as I worked towards the release date.

So what have I achieved this year? My first five songs are out on all the streaming platforms, with the sixth due to come out on 3rd January 2023. There are over 20 platforms that my distributor uploads to, but most of my listeners are on Spotify, so I’m focusing on Spotify statistics. As of 1st January 2023, I have had over 146,000 streams in total on Spotify and 872 individual listeners. I currently have 337 monthly listeners from 38 countries. It’s really exciting to think how many people my songs have reached. The rest of the songs on the album are queued to come out on the streaming services in 2023 – so by July 2023, one year after the first song was released, I’ll have all twelve songs up.

I’ve also officially launched the album, performing the songs live for the first time, and have started to sell CDs and digital downloads. I’ve loved the sense of connection with an audience that you can get from live performances – especially seeing a song evoke a response like tears or laughter.

I have four music videos out on my YouTube channel, and more being planned. The intention is to make a music video for each song, and although this is rather time-consuming, it’s also a lot of fun! I’ve also designed and launched my website this year. I have merchandise available through RedBubble, courtesy of my collaboration with artist Anna Aphelion.

The year has had its downs as well as ups. The album has definitely been a lot of work, and when I consider that on top of this I have a scientific career and a family, it seems like a pretty crazy undertaking. I’ve sacrificed a lot of leisure time, sleep and also some family time to make this happen, and I sometimes worry that by doing this I’ve missed out on important things. I’m certainly really grateful to my wonderful family for their support and understanding.

So what’s coming next? Well, as mentioned above, there are more songs and more music videos coming. Some of the music videos are collaborations, including one with artist Stephen Hall and another with dancer Bles Antolin. I also plan to continue doing regular live performances. And yes, there are other songs in various stages of readiness that may, in the fullness of time, be gathered together into another album!

So 2022, thank you for some great highs and a pretty action-packed year! And a huge thank you to all of you who have supported me, listened to my music, shared, subscribed, downloaded and liked – I’m full of gratitude and feeling ready for 2023.

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