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.
So the journey begins with releasing more music for you all! Captured Moments collates my favourites recordings taken from my adventures within music and general life. They’ll contain clips from busking sessions, Improvisation, collaborations, electro beats etc etc, whatever sounds I make within the time between releases!
This one begins with the image of myself standing, understanding where my path lies and where it’ll take me. Around the world! It’s the dream and it will become a reality providing I put in the hard work and patience! I’m totally determined to spread my music to as many people as I can and bring smiles upon their faces!
Most of these recordings are from busking sessions in Worcester and Hereford. I only wish that I started this series earlier as there have been many moments I wish to have been captured, also it would of been amazing to see the progression in my playing from the start of the double guitarness! But I’m glad I just started now and decided to start giving everything I have to you all!
I wrote a little rant/piece of advice about this yesterday, it goes as such;
For all creators, bring out your creativeness from your soul everyday, release short videos, songs, images etc etc everyday, if you have it in you then release it all. Why not? We live in an age where you can post tonnes of content on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for free….for free….for free! With the potential to reach out to thousands of people, all across the globe, for free…. Imagine 10 years ago how much it’d cost to record a live music session and share it all across the world, probably 100’s of coins!
Don’t be worried about quality. Don’t be fancy until your fancy!
Say you posted 1 short video everyday for a month, just a little 2 minute jam or Improvisation or section of a song you wrote. Say no one even views it, it doesn’t matter, you’ve just documented your own progression for free, you can look back and be like, man I totally forgot about that riff, this riff would be awesome in this song I just wrote. Leaving it on here means you don’t have to worry about memory on your devices. FOR FREE!
Also who knows, that one little video of a riff you wrote, could be seen by the producer of a upcoming movie who’s like “dam, that’s it! That’s the main melody for Charlie’s theme!” gives you a message, “yo that video you posted a couple of weeks back, I want to use that song in my movie, can you record a full 3 minute version? Then I’ll fly you out to New Zealand and we’ll talk!” – this, is completely possible! FOR FREE!
Whatever it is you do, just do. Just be.
And document it all, it doesnt mean you have to spend hours everyday on social media, it literally takes 5 minutes to record a video and post it on multiple platforms….. For free!
🙏If you aren’t already doing this, I super duper highly recommend it! It may take months before anything comes from it, but you’ve got tonnes of content to show people and look back on and be like, yeah, I’ve left something of me here, if I’m to vanish tomorrow, at least I captured what I do and gave this world everything I have.
Have a most wonderful evening!
I just got to Oxford and here’s some music I made in the streets!
“oh dragonfly”, the dragonfly landed on the buskers case, attracted to the sounds and the light green colours, sitting peacefully still for a while, the Busker finished playing and the dragon fly continued to climb upon the Busker. Crawling onto his hand to better see the world around, the dragonfly could see so much, he could see so much anyways he was just a bit tired of flying. The Busker packed away and the dragonfly jumped aboard the trolley, adventures they went on, from pond to pond from land to land, The Busker and The Dragonfly
(Picture by Chris Cosby)
The start of the adventure began in Oxford, and oh man oh man – I loved it so much! Stepping out into Oxford and seeing the architecture and beauty of the city felt welcoming, I knew I’d made the right decision on taking the leap now. Arriving at the hostel (20.03.18), (although staying in hostels wasn’t my original intent it was the budget option for this first step), I was greeted by a very friendly staff member – Ruby, although she first said “I’m sorry you can’t stay here if you’ve got all that stuff”-pointing at my two guitars and busking trolley-“ya what?!”-“yeah that’s too much, nowhere to store it all”-“but…?”-this was her sense of humour, very dry aha, luckily there was place to store it! We then had many nice conversations about music, instagram, art and travelling! The team at ‘Oxford Backpackers’ were like a family, only a few of them worked there but they were all friendly and conversational, so they informed me of all the best places to visit in Oxford! So I dumped my clothes bag and headed towards the city centre, which was a 5 minute walk from the hostel – winner! The first busk was awesome, I had an incredible response from the public, as there were many school classes taking trips there from all over Europe the city was constantly busy, so I had crowds of foreign students stand around me quite a lot. Asking for group photos and following me on Instagram, taking selfies and giving me both £1 coins and euros aha (since I plan to visit Europe this year, that helps, a lot), someone also gave me a dollar (I don’t plan on visiting America anytime soon- I don’t need a dollar, dollars not what I need, if I share with you my music, can you you not share a dollar with me, cause a dollars not what I need–what? I don’t know? Stop? Okay…).Oxford is filled with some amazing street artists and I met two of the regulars on the first day! Above-Is by Merlin Porter. This was while I was Busking with a big crowd of French and Italian students around me, he came over and asked “can I quickly paint you”, sure….this took him just over 5 minutes to do! It’s crazy good and he did it so fast! He then went and did more for the students around, so we were almost working as a busking duo aha, I drew people in with the music, he made them stay with the art – that could be a pretty cool street art combination to take on the road! Merlin has his work known all over Oxford and a few cafes have galleries for him, go check out his work now – Merlin Porter. Facebook Page.
This was the class that surrounded me and Merlin when he painted the above picture! Their teacher insisted on getting a picture! I find it weird enough people take pictures of me Busking, then having pictures like this taken felt alien, then someone asked for a selfie and posted it up on Instagram; Aha! So strange, this kid from German really enjoyed my music and bought a few CDs for his family! He’s also sent me some really nice messages on Instagram too! This photo was taken at my favourite spot, just outside of WestGate (which is a huge shopping centre, I believe its actually bigger that what Oxfords castle was! Crazy!).
Since taking this route to travel and busk solo around the UK. I looked into ways to meet people and find friends along the way, as it has and will be a lonesome journey, something I prepared for as I’m quite introverted and like having the space to be on my own. But I also wanted to jump into the uncomfortable and make the effort to socialise with strangers, make friends and build confidence in talking. So I got this app called – MeetUp, with it I attended a talk ‘Engineering Happiness into your Life’ (self-development/motivational talks are something I’m hugely interested in). It was nice to attend something like this as I read and listen to a lot of public speakers like Anthony Robbins and Les Brown. The talk was a very simplified approach to some goal setting and life questions that you’d find in – Awaken The Giant Within – Anthony Robbins
But I discovered some very helpful exercises and life tips in this talk. One of the main activities was to talk to someone who you didn’t know and tell them ‘your story’, we also had to describe ourselves in 3 words – my first thought was, Free, Creative, Loner. That obviously led to many questions and thoughts that floated around to ages afterwards, so I took some time and just sat writing out the question – who am I? Until I found an answer which I felt true to myself, it took a while and it was hard! But it really helped me. I think the way you perceive who you are massively affects the way you think and act. So me having this original thought of being a ‘loner’ only creates the lonesomeness that I feel, a self created feeling and way of looking at my life and probably created situations where I’d ostracise myself. And now I feel I can change those three words that describe me as – A Creative, Nomad, Connector. Since changing this view of who I am, simply with a few subtle word changes, it’s made me change my way on looking at life. This all happened during my first day of Oxford, so from then onwards I felt connecting easier and realise that I’m here travelling to give music to the world and connect with people and connect people together creatively by busking. I never really thought I’d open up like this on a blog, but I want to give you any bit of advice I can give. Please try this now, a pen and paper (much better than phone or laptop), write in 3 words the answer to ‘Who am I?’, the first three words that come to mind. Now think about your answer and how it affects your view of your life and the world around you….if you feel it’s not truly what you believe, then spend some time to write out ‘who you are’ in more detail (more than three words). Dig deep and ask yourself as many times as it takes for you to find an answer you feel speaks the truth. Think about where you want to be in life, your goals, your dreams and who you need to be to get there.
There is greatness within you – Les Brown
Another lesson I learnt from this came from an exercise to draw a pie chart like this-
A way to rate each section of your life from 0-10: Physical Environment(places you spend your time, I.e work place, home, social spaces etc), Work, Health, Personal Growth, Love, Money and Friendship. Then with the areas rated low, build goals to boost the ratings. My lowest areas are – Friendship, Money and Love. I know how to boost the money – be better and busk more (which is what I’m working on with this tour). But with Friendship and Love, I need to put in some effort and plan goals. I’m not entirely sure how to set these goals but I have some ideas, I definitely need to make a more consciously effort to connect with my friends and family, even though I’m travelling and away from them- that’s no excuse not to call or message them! I do prefer ‘real-life’ interactions but I that’s impractical currently being away, so I have to use what I have! Try this out too! Use it to plan some goals and figure out where your balances are, and make sure to congratulate yourself on the victories you already have! Always acknowledge every victory, no matter how small!
I’m probably going off on a tangent about this talk I attended! But I feel these are learning steps and an essential part of this journey, and hopefully it adds some value to your life! I definitely think travelling alone is something everyone should venture into, to learn about the world around you and discover more of yourself.
The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready – Henry David Thoreau
Here’s one of the other great artists of Oxford – Joshua Squashua! I love this so much! I feel it shows how I sometimes feel like a complete crazy man who’s lost the plot when I go out and busk with my guitar and bass. We actually met on Instagram, through following the hashtag #busking I discovered his work and we got chatting, so to meet him and hang out was awesome! We shared many views on life and he threw some crazy Philosophical questions at me which have racked my mind for ages, amazing stuff but these kind of questions make you think! Go check his work too!!! – Joshua Squashua. Facebook Page. He’s currently embarking on some busking travelling adventures too, so if you see him in the streets, be sure to get your face squashed and caricatured by him!
I had a lot of pictures and videos taken of me while out Busking, a lot were sent to me! So thank you for all the love and appreciation of my music! Here’s a few;
Here’s the cutest little girl! Her Dance is so adorable! She was dancing for ages with this song and her mum gave her a coin to give, she was confused on where to put it so she stood there waiting for me to take it. It was adorable and from the crowd reaction you could see how happy it made people feel! This has to be one of my favourite busking moments! I didn’t expect any of this, but looking up from my guitar to see a crowd surrounding me all smiling and watching intently, taking videos and pictures, this moment, this atmosphere and connecting people together is the reason I’m in love with busking!
I feel I’ve found a meaningful purpose for performing music, I feel like I’ve added some happiness and value to the lives of those who saw and interacted with me. These gestures of smiles and connection makes it all worth it. I hope to continue to brighten peoples days and I hope to connect with more beautiful souls!
Not only did Oxford give me so much love while busking, it was a welcoming and warming place, I felt at home there and I felt connected with the people! I’m not there now, I’m in Newport, but I’ll write more about this trip on the next post!
I do miss Oxford and would like to return soon, I’ve made some great friends there and made some beautiful memories. Living on the road and travelling makes me feel as though I’ve found a home, I feel this journey is the beginning for some great things, I feel I’m heading in the right direction to achieve my dreams and goals, I’m ready for the challenges to come and I’m feeling very optimistic about life! Right now I feel wonderful!
I hope you to feel wonderful!
Thank you for reading and following my journey!
If I’ve helped in anyway or you feel I can help in anyway, please contact me in someway!
Lots of love,
Have a great day,
Follow your heart,
Keep being you and keep being awesome!