Thinking of Busking? Do it for Happiness, Love and Bringing Value to Others

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Want to give busking a go?

Do it with love. Do it for the enjoyment and the fact it brings you happiness. Do it because you know it’ll bring value to others. Those three things, I’ve found, are the most important things when you commit to being a busker. You’re going to be spending a lot of time sat amongst strangers, a continuous stream of first impressions is coming your way. You’re energy has got to be good, in order for good to come from it.

We’re all passing through this life bumping into one another and shaping our paths. As a busker you sit amongst a flow of people moving from A to B, you’re partial interrupting their day with your presence. Some notice it, some don’t notice it, some don’t care and some notice it only subconsciously. So for those that do notice it give them a reason to fully acknowledge you. Smile, be good, be the best version of you, gift them with incredible sounds, gift them your skills and talents. Help shape their path in a positive manner. We’ve got to make positivity louder!

I’ve crossed a few buskers who have sole intent to make as much cash as they can, which will shrink their enjoyment, because when people don’t tip, it hurts and upsets them. No one has to pay you, they’re not obliged to, so be grateful for those who do. When you take on this mindset, your energy and enjoyment will go down a level and everything else will also follow and dip down.

It’s a strange thing, busking, as there are many varieties that shapes the productivity to a busking session. There isn’t just a single attribute to what makes a day right for busking. But one massively important attribute which you have complete control on is – you – your energy, it has to be of good intent. This is why love, happiness and bringing value to others should be a priority to the reason you busk.

I feel that love, happiness and bringing value to others are key things that can apply to all careers and hobbies. It makes sense, when you’re happy and enjoying yourself it shows, your essence will glow and attract people. It will also make others happy enjoying watching/listening to you – and with busking that’s the whole point right? To make people enjoy their experience in a town centre. High streets and city centres were designed for consumerism, they were designed to bring people to buy stuff and give money to many companies. Street art takes people away from consumerism, it shares something pure and something real, a gift and a feeling without a price-tag, there is no need to ‘buy’ you just gift, you share your smile, your time and you gift to another human who also has a beating heart, a whirlwind of emotions inside, a list of desires and dreams, a whole history and a whole other story to tell. This art, takes you and the performer to another state of being, you’re just there, in that moment, you, them, the street and everyone around you, it’s a beautiful state of presence.

That’s why;

Love

Happiness

Value to others

Has to be your priority when you busk. Lets make positivity louder. Lets collectively wake up happy and share happiness in every street, in every city!


Thank you for reading my words and following this journey.

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

Join me on Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/chatfield

My TEDx talk – https://youtu.be/Eu-KJ1Z10Fk

Have a great day!

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Stay Childish and Be Curious

As a busker, I spend a lot of my time sat down, in the middle of the high street, and often I people watch. It’s fascinating, catching snippets and creating stories of someones life; what are they doing, where are they going and what kind of person are they. This beginning almost opens up a hundred different avenues to go down and write about. But I want to write about the children that I see from a fly-on-the-wall perspective.

Children are curious, they’re creative and they’re just so amazed by the things that surround them. When they see someone playing music on the streets, their reaction is interesting to watch;

“look at that guitar man!”,
“look Mum, what’s he doing?”,
“whoaw, two guitars!”,
“wat u doinnnnnn?!”,
“what is that you are playing?”,
“can I have a go?”,
“my Daddie plays guitar!”,
“I play piano, and I’m really really good, I can play twinkle twinkle star, can you play twinkle twinkle star?”…

Their excitement just to run up and say exactly whats on their mind is wonderful, like they’re running towards you holding this colourful water balloon that pops and explodes into words, questions and wonder. Sometimes they’ll get really close to the ‘stage’ and just stare intensely, like they’re amazed but haven’t learnt how to react to it just yet. At times, this is the first live musical experience the child is having – how amazing is that? A human, a tiny and new to this world human has yet to discover where music comes from. Perhaps they’ve seen it on a screen before, but not yet in real life. That first experience of seeing live music, must be incredible, absolutely incredible. I can’t quite remember my first time experiencing live music, but I remember as a child I would always be amazed watching my Dad play chords on the guitar. The fact that this thing, this wooden strange shaped thing, would create such a cool sound, what the fridge?!

There’s a lesson to be learnt by children, a lesson I feel people neglect at times. But this lesson of showing curiosity. As following your curiosities leads you down incredible and life-changing paths. To ask questions about everything in life, “What are wasps actual purpose other than to annoy the hell out of us?”, “What would happen if I hung upside down and painted this forest that I see?”, “Where does that off-road path lead?”, “What if I just packed in this job I hate and move to Canada and work in a cafe?” etc etc. I could list a billion questions as there’s an infinite things to be curious about in this world and within our minds, but I don’t want to spend all of time writing questions, I want to spend all of time exploring my curiosities – “What would happen if I write daily blog posts and send them to magazines, companies etc? Could I turn it into a job?” (my current curiosity).

Elizabeth Gilbert writes in ‘Big Magic’, how following your curiosity is more important than following your passion. That you should learn to ask the questions that lead you onward. Each footstep being a new question, each question leading you closer to a new discovery, each discovery gifting you new knowledge, each bit of knowledge building further understanding of this world, then ultimately understanding which bit of the world you want to fit into, which job you want to pursue, which person to love, where to live etc. Curiosity takes you down this wonderful path, a path of growth and knowledge.

Children seem to have this skill of curiosity. I don’t have children of my own, I wish to one day, but I have younger siblings, and their curiosities fascinate me greatly. The way in which they word questions at times;
“Where are you going to live tomorrow? then where are you going to live next week?” – my little sister Emily asked as I was hugging goodbye, both leaving Forest of Dean, Emily leaving with the family back to Worcestershire, me leaving towards Cardiff. Perhaps the way in which a question is asked is different to curiosity, but it sits within context to how creative a child’s mind is. That process in her mind of, ‘James visits lots of different places, so where does he live? does he move house all the time?’, it’s her curiosity to understand something by just asking the question that comes to mind. Sometimes I feel as adults we get too worried about just asking a question, the fear of looking a fool or being judged by another, but you shouldn’t live in fear of what others think of you, otherwise you’ll never get to express yourself fully – just be you! Because YOU are you for a reason, we’re each different and unique, we all matter, YOU matter!

Following the curiosity of a child’s curiosity asking questions, I’ve started doing it more. Spending time in hostels, passes you by lots of people, all with interesting stories and knowledge to share, different views on the world, with great conversations and discussions to have. There was a stage in my life where I was too afraid to ask someone a question, so I would just presume the answer myself, which often lead to me being anti-social, feeling alone and sometimes depression would peep into my mind, “alone are ya? feeling like you can’t speak to anyone? yep, you can’t, alone forever, no one wants to hear your voice, sorry, that’s just the way it is” (now through the act of daily training in self-love and meditation, I stand up and push that awful voice away). I only wish I’d got the courage to ask people questions sooner, but it’s all a growing process.

Now when I walk into a hostel room and see someone, I’ll ask them a question about their presence here, unless their in meditation position sat on the kitchen table – don’t disturb their peace. But it leads to a wonder of conversations and I’ll always come out with new knowledge, they know the land better and can direct me to a cool place to visit, or they’ll share an interesting book to read or musician to check out, or suggest an idea with my personal travels. This curiosity has filled my journals with interesting entries and made my days so much better. Recently driving quite late to a hostel, I was feeling a little low and just wanted to shut off from the world, but to check into the hostel I had to walk into the bar, and I had to interrupt a group conversation, “where you heading dude?…awesome! Why? ….oh really you’re a busker? …I used to be too …yeah I travelled all over” = cool conversation that pulled me from the darkness my mind was brewing.

What I want to leave you with, is that – to follow your curiosities, to go on a life long epic quest to find the answer to all those questions that come into your mind from some place either internal or external. To ask a stranger why he’s shouting poetry on top of a phone-box (oh Theo, I do hope you’re okay). To ask the world where you should go. To ask yourself the deep questions inside, to ask questions to help you understand yourself more. To follow your curiosity in a career or university course. Trust me (or don’t, that’s cool, chances are we haven’t met), when you start following your curiosities it’ll take down some amazing paths, it’ll bring amazing people into your life, it’ll make you feel amazing and it’ll make you thirst for more questions and more knowledge. It’ll also help you discover what you do and don’t like, where you want to and don’t want to be, who you do and don’t want to spend your time with.

Curiosity + Action = Adventure & Growth

I do fear that some parents are shutting out curiosity within their children, like it’s a bad thing to be curious. I see and hear it a lot, a child will be trailing behind their Mum who is focused deeply on moving forwards and scrolling their phone simultaneously, “Mum! look at that man playing guitar! look Mum, Look!”, the Mum responding after the child shouts this 3 or 4 times, doesn’t look back at the child “Come on, hurry up, stop being slow!” – maybe the Mum is actually being slow here? Where the child wants to follow curiosity?
I’ve seen this scenario many times, now I don’t know the situation or the people, so I can’t make judgement on them, they could be rushing to drive somewhere super important. But from the body language of the parent I fear they get annoyed to often at their young for being curious. Is it so bad to ask questions? The child has sometimes pulled their parent to turn around, but they just shut down the child’s curiosity. Or the parent will drag the child away quickly, in fear that the busking man will infect them with a creative outburst – oh dam not that bug!

Look at this;

This little girl, Freda is just incredible, her Mum too. This is why curiosity is so important, because it makes us do wonderful things like this, it makes us happy! Look how happy she is just jumping about making up dance moves! If her dancing doesn’t make you smile, then…..


Thank you for reading my words and follow this journey.

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

Join my Patreon Page – https://www.patreon.com/chatfield/posts

My TEDx talk – https://youtu.be/Eu-KJ1Z10Fk

Have a great day!

Motivation from Stationary Future Thinkings

They say its motivating to picture your dream life 5 years from now. But I feel its much more moving and powerful to picture yourself 5 years from now not having jumped for those dreams, not having quit that job you dislike, not having gone after that person you felt romantically towards, not having taken a leap of faith towards those ideas running wild in your mind, not having developed the skills you have. Just staying still in the routines and places you are currently in. When I visualise that, it freaks me out and motivates me to move forwards in so many ways, to develop myself as a person, to bring life to the ideas and goals I have inside, to take leaps towards romance, to travel new places and to experience new things.

If imagining that makes you content and happy, then that is amazing, and I’m truly happy for you! Happiness is so important. But if you picture that life and don’t like what you see. Then I emplore you to take a leap of faith, to not give in to fear, to continue and continue growing into the person you wish to be. We live every day, not just once. Each day is a new beginning if you so wish to allow it to be, each day opens new doors to learn and experience new things, each day allows you to connect with strangers and to meet new people. So take a stand towards the dreams and goals you have, give them life, step by step you’ll change your world and ultimately the entire world.

To have followed my gut instinct and quit a retail job I disliked 3 years ago has been one of my best moments. I look back and wonder who I’d of been if I didn’t just jump, if I stayed. Just grateful I did jump. This journey has been amazing so far, it hasn’t always been easy. Loneliness is the biggest enemy and at times quite a painful feeling. But the joy I feel to busk and share good energy on the streets to strangers is worth those moments of pain. There are a lot of things I wish to be and wish to have, but those things come with time and patience. Time and patience is something that I’ve learnt to have, they’re important, patience especially is so important.

Be kind to others and be kind to yourself!

Thank you for reading my words and follow this journey.

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

Have a great day!

You’re an Actual Miracle – Quick Busking Documents – 11th May 2018

Whilst I was playing a man came over and asked;
“How old are you?”
“24”
“I just lost my boy at 25, he would of absolutely loved this music, this is from him”
I was lost for words, his loss hit me really hard, and throughout that busk and still now I can’t stop thinking about that. To lose your own child at such a young age, must be a pain unimaginable. It hit me hard as well because I turn 25 this year, making me realise how soon a life can end. Such a young age, there was so much more his son still had to give and explore.
This makes me think about life way more, and the fact it can end unexpectedly and death is unfortunately inevitable.
To live it to the full and live it the way you want to, there is only one chance at this life, one chance to make your own legend. The odds of being alive are – 4 Trillion to 1, which technically makes each individual is a miracle – you, yes you are a walking miracle. So take all the light within you and shine it bright so the world can see, give this world everything you have, go all the way with your dreams and goals, take every moment as a chance to enjoy this life you have. Enjoy each moment, cherish everything you have and be grateful for all the tiny details of your life, for this moment right now could be one of your last.
Don’t stop shining your light!
Take fucking control of your own path and do everything you ever dreamed of!
You’re a miracle, an actual miracle, so live life to the complete full!
I wish you all the best!
Love,
James.

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A New Set-Up – Guitar/Bass/Vocals

So recently I’ve been experimenting with a new set-up (above). Which involves me playing both bass and guitar simultaneously whilst ‘trying’ to sing. This all happened by a happy accident – wanting to learn a Ben Howard tune on guitar. I had the bass on, sat the guitar on my lap and used the bass to tune the guitar to an open tuning, hitting harmonics on both instruments – “that sounds cool! what if I hold a bass note and hit the guitar for harmonics and percussive stuff!?”. Since then I’ve not stopped writing and practicing with this set-up, apart from a few days off as I went busking with it and due to the cold, split my middle finger open whilst hitting the tiny sharp guitar strings!

I’m really enjoying playing around with this set-up and the challenge of trying to balance two instruments. I’m still trying to understand what the hell I’m doing and how to make it sound good, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done with it, but the practice is fun – so fun actually – I never want to put them down! Ahh I’m excited by this, I feel there’s so much potential with what I can do with this set-up.

The video is taken from my second live performance with this, it’s been a very terrifying and nerve racking thing! Especially with the singing, as I’m very very new to singing and know there’s a lot of vocal work to be done, I feel I can’t really sing just yet, but with lots of practice, maybe I could!? But it was a fun experience and it’s definitely building my confidence. I’m not overly happy with this performance and was very unsure on whether or not I should release it online, but then I thought it’d be cool to document my journey with learning the set-up and I guess have it to look back on and see where I need to improve and to see my personal progression with singing and performing.
This was on the 4th January 2018, so just over 2 weeks since I started messing around with the set-up, first video upload:

I’ll be uploading a tonne more content to the likes of Instagram and YouTube, so follow me on both of these platforms to see more clips from my quest: to learn how to sing, play guitar and play bass – all at the same time.

 

Take care!

Thank you for following my blog and reading this post!

Much love for you!

Keep smiling and follow your heart!

Grab ya self some free music from my BandCamp!
chatfield.bandcamp.com

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Where My Heart Belongs/Crazy Crump

Where my Heart Belongs – A recently uploaded solo bass track. Written on the feeling of being re-united with my Warwick Bass after being away from it for 5 months on a European tour as a Session bassist for Australian Folk Band The Wishing Well (Busking band who’ve been touring Europe, Australia, America for the past 15 years, there’ll be more blog posts on the busking adventures with these guys! As I’ve learnt a lot from them on the world of busking!).
Picking up this bass after so long was such an insanely good feeling! Writing on this made me release where my heart belongs and where I want to take my life, my music and the ones that are close to my heart. I think when you get a feeling like this, you’ve got to go all the way and complete the goals your mind and soul tell you. So whatever it is that you feel inside, just go do it, do it with all your heart and all your energy and don’t stop giving the world everything you have!

IMG_3173Writing and playing solo bass was one of the biggest things I missed while being away on tour, of course I missed my family and friends (mostly my Dog – Roxy! How could I not?! Look at her she’s the coolest dog around!).
I see music as an amazing way to express yourself and a medicine for everything, and when I play solo bass, it really helps me express myself to the fullest.

Busking in Stourbridge is always fun as I usually get approached by a very happy crazy drunken fool, I don’t know what his actual name is but lets call him ‘Crazy Crump’. So when ‘Crazy Crump’ approaches, you don’t see him first you hear him, he has this light and high pitched ‘ahya ahya’ laugh followed by many ‘yeah, yeah, yeahhh’. I heard him coming the other day, he was in a singing mood and came very close to me singing very loudly, singing about birds and sunshine in a different world, he got right in my face singing over some very mellow bass loops. (Which was described as ‘like water’ – love that, I really want to use that as an EP/Album title and compose a bunch of watery loop pieces – to do). At this point there were a lot of children coming out from school so town was busy which meant this unexpected duo drew a crowd, I’m sure there’s video evidence on someones SnapChat story or Instagram feed. It’s funny when things like this happen, it’s enjoyable to watch him enjoy himself so much, he was swaying his arms around and really belting it, he was making both me and many people passing by laugh, so there’s no harm from him. After he stopped singing he did try to put his hands all over my bass, which I’m not too cool with, so I told him to not do that and he laughed ‘ahyah ahyah, yeah yeah yeahh’, and just stood and watched for a while. He realised there was a loop playing and was like;
“You’re not even playing, ahyah ahyah, listen he’s better than you are (referring to the loop). Ahyah ahyah, listen he’s playing that and then you’re playing that. Now’s he stopped! (stopping the loop and starting to play another loop), now he’s playing again ahyah ahyah, what’s he doing? Is he better than you? Ahyah ahyah, yeah yeah yeahhh he is ahyah ahyah, he is!!”. He found this whole looping situation hilarious and was under the impression that we were having some sort of guitar duel. He went on to tell me stories about his life how he isn’t getting enough money to buy enough beers and ‘cocaine’ – probably where the crazy energy is sourced. He insisted that I stop and go get some beers together. Carrying on playing whilst he tells me this, he stops and puts his ear closer to the bass.
“Hey, hold up! I know this one, yeah yeah, I know this one. Who’s it by? Go on who’s this one?”, I was just improvising some stuff and he started singing the melody I was playing like he knew it already. “Ahyah ahyah, yeah yeah yeahhh, I know this one! Who’s it by? Ah I can’t think.” It’s by James Chatfield I said “That’s it yeah! I knew it, he’s dead now isn’t he, he was an old one! Good tune! I knew him, ahyah ahyah yeah yeah yeahhh I know this one”….wait I’m dead? What?! so apparently I’m some sort of reanimation of another James Chatfield who wrote this tune that I’m just improvising. ‘Crazy Crump’ is just …… After I finished busking I saw him again at the train station, beer in hand, swaying around, he saw me and kept shouting “Yeah yeah yeahhh, play another song! Go on, play one more now!” I just smiled and waved, stood at the train station I could see his head jumping up and down from behind a wall waving at me. I do wonder what would of happened if we went for a beer, oh lord ahyah ahyah!

As I mention a lot, you meet a lot of people while playing in the streets, from these crazy fools to lovely pensioners to musicians from all ages. Basically every type of person there is, you’ll meet in some form whilst busking. Which is great, it’ll for sure boost your confidence in talking and interacting with strangers, you’ve got to take all of these encounters in a positive way.

I realise this post has been uploaded later than expected! I’ve been busking the entire day and spent the night cooking curry for my Nan (tasty chickpea, spinach, mushroom curry!!) and playing snooker with my Dad and little brother. So I had little time to tweak and post in the day, but finishing it all now!

I hope you’ve enjoyed another busking story from myself! Stick around as there’s more to come! 🙂

 

If you enjoy my blogs and music, you can help support my journey
by directly donating to – paypal.me/jameschatfield
(any donation will receive a musical download!)
or
by purchasing music from my BandCamp page.

 

Feel free to contact me about anything – basschatfield@gmail.com

Have a positive week!
Think healthy happy thoughts and live a healthy happy life! 

All the best,

James x

 

Busking-Travelling-Composing-Performing-Bass’ing :)

Busking, travelling, composing, performing, bass’ing and other related subjects – is what you’ll get from these blogs I will be writing from now until I no longer own a device on which I can write an online blog. I’m going to be documenting my journey through music and expressing emotions and feelings of living the life as a travelling musician. I’ll capture and share stories/music from the people I meet through the journey. There’ll be a minimum of one blog post a week, the flow and consistency will develop over time, but I feel I’ve been holding it off for a while – and if there’s something you want to do-do it now! So I’m doing it right now, I don’t have any plan for this particular post, but I guess it’s an introduction into my thoughts, feelings and recent adventures.

I have recently been feeling very low and down on life, not wanting to give up, but realising it’s hard, life is hard. But you’ve always got to keep your head up and DO, even when you really don’t feel like doing it, put yourself through the motions of ‘DO’ing and you strengthen your capacity to DO. JUST DO! 
When feeling like this quite recently whilst out busking, I’d been playing for just under 2 hours and was feeling unsure about continuing. When a man sat beside me with a bottle of squash and listened for a very long time, finishing a song I turned to him and smiled. Returning the smile he went on to say, “Thank you, thank you for being here right now at this moment. I’ve had a really rough couple of days and this right now has made me happy, it’s made my life better. Thank you“, he gave me some money and smiled. Thanking him I told him to keep his head up in the dark times, expressing my gratitude for this moment, passing him a CD and telling him, that all I want to do is spread positivity and happiness to people. We spoke about life and constantly moving forward no matter what, that ‘Darkness exists to make light truly count’-Sleeping at Last . He smiled and before leaving said, “Thank you, it’s not just the music and technicality of it that I like, it’s your spirit. Keep doing this, please“. I could see he was holding in tears, it must be some real rough times for him and I wish him the best in that, I hope to see him again and pass a smile of encouragement and hope. Writing about this brings tears to my eyes, life is hard, but I’m not giving up with my dreams and goals, knowing that I made a difference to this persons life makes everything worth it, it gives me a boost in belief, all I want to do is spread positivity and joy and give love to this world we live in.
So whatever it is you believe in your heart and soul, go out there and do it. Make your world a better place! 

On a more positive feeling I’ve been thinking a lot about progression, I feel I need to really work hard at my craft and progress as a musician, composer and person. To do that requires documenting your self and evaluating everything you do, to monitor your mind and learn how your mind works and change it to better yourself. So I’m making a conscious effect to improve and become a better me, I will do this with daily recordings/videos which I can look back on and see what I need to do more of and what less of. This blog will also be a place for me to keep track of my progression, I’m sure the more blogs I do the better they’ll become.

Another positive note – I’ve been making CD’s and getting help from my little sister Starr. She’s getting a commission for each CD that sells that she designed. It’s cool to collaborate with the family and design artwork together, because everyone can draw, and everyone has a unique drawing style. That’s why I’ve fallen in love with art, it’s such a personal way to express your true self, with it you show the world the full true you.
If you like the look of these CD’s please feel free to send me a message/email and we can arrange a delivery for you! 🙂

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Here’s a great picture from ‘Anthony Pearson’, who caught me busking in Worcester on a Sunday afternoon 🙂

Busker

I want to end this blog with this;
By many people I get told to “Keep doing what you’re doing“, I’m so grateful for these comments, it’s like a hint from the universe that I’m doing what I was set out to do. I feel it in my heart and soul, I see the path that I will take and I know deep down that this is all I have and what I was set out to do. I want to give life everything I have and die empty knowing that I’ve given all I can. Find your passion and give everything you have to the world around you! Be grateful and keep moving forward! 

Keep doing what you do best! 

All the best

James x