So this weekend 20th-22nd July 2018, I was asked to join TEDx to perform and talk about my music and journey. I spent a while figuring out what I wanted to say and how I was going to say it. Writing many talks and feeling more than nervous for the event. It was kind of crazy how it all came about, just through a short video I posted of me busking once in Worcester, the curator Sarah Luger messaged me asking me if I wanted to play? – eh yeahs, I’ve been watching Ted talks the past 4 years!
I wanna write more about it, but for now I wanted to share the speech that I didn’t actually say on stage as I went almost completely improvised and just followed what my heart had to say. The response after I played and spoke was beyond ridiculous, the room was filled with so much love and positivy, it was cray cray!
For now these words roughly capture what I wanted to talk about.
Hey, so I was asked to perform my music on this TEDx stage today and talk about who I am.
I am James Chatfield.
And 2 years ago I made a leap and decided to be a full-time street-musician, right at the beginning of a British winter. Not exactly the best time to be playing outside in the streets all day. But it all came from a gut feeling, a feeling inside, telling me that I was destined for more than what I was doing at the time, which then, was working at a retail job, a place that didn’t align to who I was or give me chance to add value to people’s lives, just a source of income.
So I did it, I followed this gut feeling and quit my job, it was whilst driving to the workplace, I had a mental breakdown, a realisation that this wasn’t who I was and that I knew I could be doing something more important to give to this world.
So sat there in my car, after just quitting my job, and choosing my own path, I drove out and started street performing, deciding that from this point onwards, I would do this full-time, that I would only do things that meant I could be who I was, and add value to other people’s lives doing what I love – creating music.
The winter was harsh to busk in, my hands would freeze up alot, I stood in blistering winds, snowfalls, would get many blisters and cut my fingers, catch colds and sometimes play for 6 hours in one day and just make enough to grab a cup of coffee.
But I knew that if I persisted and never gave up, and that if I could busk through this, that I could busk in any condition.
And what kept me going was
Seeing the affect my music had on people, children stopping in amazement, possibly the first time they’ve seen live music, they dance and laugh, stop their parents so they can watch, pulling them closer. People smile, people walk past looking down and out then a smile slowly arises, people looking so busy then suddenly stop, those few seconds where they escape the rush in their mind to listen to this music, maybe it shaped their day and brought light to them, maybe it inspired them, maybe it just quite simply made them feel a bit more happier in that one moment. People have come up to me in tears, hugging me, “thank you” they say or “I have had the most awful morning, but hearing this music has made my day instantly better”.
Seeing this affect I had on people. I knew that this was what I was meant to do, this was a path I was meant to embark on, one to bring my music to streets for strangers to hear, to spread positivity, smiles and lighten someone’s day. For I knew if I had impacted only one person out of a thousand, in a positive way. I was doing something good for this world, that who I am and the skills I have, equal to, performing music on the streets, the perfect way for me to maximise my impact on the world.
I am grateful everyday for the amazing kindness from all of the wonderful people I encounter on the streets, and for the most incredible, most magical friends that I have. For without these loving souls, wouldn’t be able to do what I do.
My current goal is to acquire a van, so that I can convert into a mobile home and music studio, so that I can be more productive and travel easier, to reach out to more people and more countries. To drive around sharing my music to every country that is possible to drive to.
With this van, it means I can further expand on my mission,
To travel the world, and share my music and positivity to the streets, to uplift and connect as many people as I can. For at the end, when I leave this life, I want to leave knowing that I gave this world everything I am, that I gave it all the music in me. As we only get this one life, this one chance to follow our heart, to turn our dreams into a reality, to bring value to every other being around us, to make change to the world no matter how small that change is.
I’ve always seen my music as a way to communicate and spread positivity. A way to connect with people and share a joyful message. I’ve never felt I’ve had the chance to communicate a positive message through talking, so with this opportunity on this TEDx talk, I want to share a message.
I say to you, just go, for you can go anywhere, for you can turn all your dreams into a reality, for you can live the life you desire, for you can achieve things beyond what you believe you are capable of. You are enough, you will always be enough, you are beautiful, you are unique, and you are a miracle. You can overcome any challenge that presents itself. You can do anything and you can go anywhere. One step at a time, as any step forward is a step forward.
Where will you go? What do you feel your soul pulling you towards? I say go, Just Go, For You Can Go Anywhere, give this world everything you are and leave knowing that you lived your life to the full.
And now I will play some music for you.