169: Listening to creative discomfort with singer/songwriter, Brian Perry

If you are seeking encouragement, wisdom, and positivity, then this episode delivers! Brian Perry is a singer/songwriter, clarity coach, copywriter, author, speaker, and amazing person. Enjoy his conversation with host, Juliana Finch, about navigating the creative process, finding joy, and measuring success.

***

BRIAN PERRY: Singer/Songwriter, Clarity Coach, Copywriter, Author, and Speaker (and that guy who writes on the back of his car!)

www.yesbrianperry.com

@yesbrianperry on FB, IG, & LI

MENTIONED: www.thinkingoutsidetheblocks.com

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Transcript
Tamara Kissane:

This is artist soapbox.

Tamara Kissane:

Through interviews and original scripted audio fiction.

Tamara Kissane:

We deliver stories that speak to your hearts and your minds.

Juliana Finch:

Hey soap boxers.

Juliana Finch:

It's Juliana.

Juliana Finch:

Today, I'm bringing you a conversation with singer songwriter, story, coach

Juliana Finch:

copywriter, author speaker, that guy who writes on his car, Brian Perry.

Juliana Finch:

Brian Perry and I have known each other for about a decade now, which feels

Juliana Finch:

a little surreal to say, because it does feel a little bit like yesterday.

Juliana Finch:

He's an amazing person and so wise and so positive.

Juliana Finch:

Every time I talk to Brian, I feel better for having done so, and I hope you'll feel

Juliana Finch:

the same way for having listened to him.

Juliana Finch:

You can find him online at yes brian Perry.

Juliana Finch:

That's on all the platforms at yes brian Perry and I hope you will

Juliana Finch:

get a lot out of this episode.

Juliana Finch:

I certainly did just by having a conversation with him.

Juliana Finch:

So enjoy.

Juliana Finch:

Brian Perry, welcome to the podcast.

Juliana Finch:

I'm so glad you're here.

Brian Perry:

Thank you.

Brian Perry:

I'm so grateful to be here . Before we get started, wanna tell you

Brian Perry:

something funny, like a year or so.

Brian Perry:

Maybe a back.

Brian Perry:

I stumbled upon like auto play on my podcast app.

Brian Perry:

It played something from Artist Soapbox.

Brian Perry:

Oh, wow.

Brian Perry:

And, and at that time, wouldn't allow me to see my listening history.

Brian Perry:

This was by listening to through apple podcast.

Brian Perry:

And I couldn't find it.

Brian Perry:

I was like, that was really cool.

Brian Perry:

I wanna know more and I could never find it.

Brian Perry:

And then you, when you reached out about this, when I looked it up, I

Brian Perry:

went, this is what I'm looking for.

Brian Perry:

So

Juliana Finch:

you found us the universe's algorithm worked in your favor.

Juliana Finch:

Indeed.

Juliana Finch:

Yeah.

Juliana Finch:

Artist soapbox has been a lot of fun.

Juliana Finch:

I've done a few audio drama things with them and a couple

Juliana Finch:

interviews myself back in the day.

Juliana Finch:

And, and now we're moving in this fun, new direction where we get to

Juliana Finch:

have a whole team of podcast hosts talking about stuff that we care.

Juliana Finch:

I love it.

Juliana Finch:

I love

Brian Perry:

it.

Brian Perry:

The diverse projects and such you're involved with my friend.

Juliana Finch:

Great.

Juliana Finch:

So you and I have known each other for a long time, and we've

Juliana Finch:

had these conversations about the creative process, just personally

Juliana Finch:

on the phone a bunch of times.

Juliana Finch:

And so I'm excited to be able to have one of those Brian and Juliana conversations.

Juliana Finch:

You know, in a place where other people will get to hear it.

Juliana Finch:

Me too.

Juliana Finch:

And I know you primarily from being a songwriter since we're

Juliana Finch:

both songwriters, but you've also got a lot of other stuff going on.

Juliana Finch:

You've been a coach, you've been a public speaker, motivational

Juliana Finch:

speaker, you've, you're an author.

Juliana Finch:

What do you have going on right now?

Juliana Finch:

What's happening in your world?

Brian Perry:

You know, what's happening right now is really an integration of all

Brian Perry:

that I think for too long, I've kind of seen my artistic creative hats, siloed

Brian Perry:

them out from the rest of my world.

Brian Perry:

You know, I have.

Brian Perry:

My day job stuff, and my night job stuff in the last, really over the

Brian Perry:

course of the pandemic, I've been recognizing the through line of what

Brian Perry:

I do, which for me really revolves around story and calling people more

Brian Perry:

deeply into living and experiencing the story they wanna live in their lives.

Brian Perry:

So what I'm really engaged in right now is integrating all the things that I do.

Brian Perry:

Because boy that all plays out functionally is I, I do

Brian Perry:

that as a singer songwriter.

Brian Perry:

I do that as a story coach, as a copywriter, as an author, as a speaker.

Brian Perry:

And so, yeah, so I'm kind of liberating myself to live a

Brian Perry:

more cohesive creative life.

Brian Perry:

And what that looks like right now, pragmatically is I'm in

Brian Perry:

the midst of rebranding and relaunching my reintroducing

Brian Perry:

myself to the world digitally.

Juliana Finch:

I love the idea of reintroducing yourself to the world

Juliana Finch:

when you're doing something new.

Juliana Finch:

That's really cool.

Juliana Finch:

I like.

Brian Perry:

It feels, it feels good.

Brian Perry:

It feels like a fresh start.

Brian Perry:

It feels like.

Brian Perry:

I mean, I think we're all coming outta, coming to wherever this new

Brian Perry:

phase of the pandemic is and looking in our closets and going, Ugh, I don't

Brian Perry:

like any of these clothes anymore.

Brian Perry:

And I sort of feel that metaphorically in my own broader life as I step

Brian Perry:

out in the world, like, yeah, no, none, this, none of this fits me.

Brian Perry:

I need to put on different digital clothes and reintroduce myself.

Brian Perry:

So yeah,

Juliana Finch:

totally.

Juliana Finch:

Well, let's get into it.

Juliana Finch:

I use this podcast to talk about writer's block and creative blocks.

Juliana Finch:

Has that happened for you sometime in the recent past?

Juliana Finch:

What was that like for you?

Brian Perry:

Oh, so absolutely it's happened in the way it tends to

Brian Perry:

happen is it tends to surprise me.

Brian Perry:

I'll just suddenly start to feel really heavy and I'll, and, and in that I'll.

Brian Perry:

I get restless and heavy and just kind of don't feel good in my own

Brian Perry:

skin and I'll notice, wow, I haven't written anything in a long time.

Brian Perry:

And that so rapidly turns into a story about how I'm never gonna write again.

Brian Perry:

I mean, it just spirals, but I think where creatives run into trouble,

Brian Perry:

particularly songwriters or, or storytellers, people that self identify

Brian Perry:

as storytellers in whatever medium is that we're good at telling stories.

Brian Perry:

And, and so the moment that I go, oh my gosh, I haven't written a song in

Brian Perry:

whatever the date I'm imposing on myself.

Brian Perry:

I don't just leave it there and kind of observe that, you

Brian Perry:

know, objectively, immediately assign meaning and story to it.

Brian Perry:

And that's, that's a, it doesn't serve me.

Brian Perry:

It tends to, it tends to, to entrench me in the notion rather

Brian Perry:

than showing me a way through.

Brian Perry:

Used to say, when I was coming out of, um, my divorce, I, I used to

Brian Perry:

say I'm clear about three things.

Brian Perry:

I don't know the plan.

Brian Perry:

I don't know what shit means.

Brian Perry:

And I get myself in trouble when I pretend either one and I feel that to

Brian Perry:

be really true with my creativity, there tends to be a bit of an outcomes razor

Brian Perry:

moment in my own head around the stories I tell when I hit writer's block moment.

Brian Perry:

where, you know, what's, if I weigh these two theories, one that I'm never

Brian Perry:

gonna write again, because I haven't written in six weeks or two months or

Brian Perry:

six months or two, I've been writing for, you know, whatever 25 years or so.

Brian Perry:

And I have a, I have a long history of being a writer and

Brian Perry:

sometimes that means not writing, which of those stories is true.

Brian Perry:

you know, the simple, the simpler one, which is, Hey,

Brian Perry:

I've been writing a long time.

Brian Perry:

This happens.

Brian Perry:

So.

Brian Perry:

is the more true, but it doesn't feel that way.

Brian Perry:

And it doesn't feel that way because it's when I feel most like

Brian Perry:

me when I, when you're writing.

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

That's I think that's really the bottom line is that, is that it's,

Brian Perry:

it's not that I'm afraid that I'm never gonna write it's I'm afraid.

Brian Perry:

I'm never gonna feel like me.

Brian Perry:

I'm never gonna understand why I'm on this planet again.

Juliana Finch:

Gosh, I think that's so true because we, so much of our

Juliana Finch:

identities gets wrapped up in our.

Juliana Finch:

Yes.

Juliana Finch:

And that's, you know, pretty unusual for, there are certainly other, other

Juliana Finch:

jobs, other professions that have that.

Juliana Finch:

But I think artists, especially, we put so much of ourselves into the work that

Juliana Finch:

it's very hard to feel like if you're not doing the work you're losing yourself.

Brian Perry:

Yes, exactly.

Brian Perry:

There's so many ways that happens on your artistic journey.

Brian Perry:

Certainly professionally, you feel like you start to lose yourself if you're.

Brian Perry:

Achieving certain goals and certain thresholds.

Brian Perry:

I, yeah, I went through this a while back as you know, well, it's still

Brian Perry:

going through it in many ways because I've ran in some health challenges

Brian Perry:

around my voice that prevented me from performing in the way that I wanted to.

Brian Perry:

And, and in many ways, writing in the way I wanted to, I couldn't count on my

Brian Perry:

instrument and yeah, it felt writer's block for me comes on issues like that.

Brian Perry:

Come on, like identity.

Brian Perry:

I mean it's it's and that's not to be dramatic.

Brian Perry:

It feels like identity theft now, because it doesn't honestly the,

Brian Perry:

the, the highs and lows of success in any profession, they come and

Brian Perry:

go, well, whoever your iconic artist is, everybody rides a rollercoaster

Brian Perry:

there, but it always, fundamentally for me, comes back to the experience

Brian Perry:

of sitting in my room, writing a song.

Brian Perry:

It just it's every time blows me away.

Brian Perry:

And when it's not there, I just, I lose

Juliana Finch:

me.

Juliana Finch:

Yeah.

Juliana Finch:

It sounds like you have a good way of telling yourself to look

Juliana Finch:

at the real history, to look at the actual legacy of 20.

Juliana Finch:

So something years of writing, instead of the story that you're making up in

Juliana Finch:

your head, which I think is a great tool for people to use, what else helps

Juliana Finch:

you when you feel like, cuz for me, I feel like when I'm in it, I don't

Juliana Finch:

necessarily know when it's gonna be over, but there comes a time when I'm

Juliana Finch:

feeling like it's starting to end.

Juliana Finch:

Right.

Juliana Finch:

Doesn't just suddenly end for me.

Juliana Finch:

What helps you.

Juliana Finch:

To get to that place and to, and to feel hopeful around the process.

Juliana Finch:

Again, you know,

Brian Perry:

there's a few things that pop up for me immediately.

Brian Perry:

When you say that I have, I, I have a journey around mental health things like,

Brian Perry:

uh, depression and anxiety and, and such.

Brian Perry:

And one of the things that my nearest and dearest, including you will say, if I'm

Brian Perry:

in a dark chapter in some form or another, we always say to each other, it will lift.

Brian Perry:

Just remember that part.

Brian Perry:

It will lift.

Brian Perry:

I don't know how, I don't know when, but it will.

Brian Perry:

I kinda remind myself that when it comes to writer's block, but I also,

Brian Perry:

I'm getting in a better habit of learning to stop demonizing discomfort.

Brian Perry:

Ooh, too often we treat discomfort.

Brian Perry:

Like it's our enemy in areas that we hold precious, writing being one of them.

Brian Perry:

in a way that we don't do the same demonizing.

Brian Perry:

Like you don't go to the gym, have a killer workout, wake up sore the next

Brian Perry:

day and think, oh no, it's not working.

Brian Perry:

You think it is working

Juliana Finch:

right?

Juliana Finch:

Oh yeah.

Juliana Finch:

And similarly, like the gym, there's a difference between like a soreness from

Juliana Finch:

using that muscle versus like an injury.

Juliana Finch:

Exactly.

Juliana Finch:

Those are different, different feelings.

Brian Perry:

Exactly.

Brian Perry:

And I, I think so.

Brian Perry:

I think that the more I'm able to stop demonizing the discomfort of that moment.

Brian Perry:

Hey, I'm not writing.

Brian Perry:

It's not working.

Brian Perry:

It's not happening right now.

Brian Perry:

The more I'm able to listen to it.

Brian Perry:

There's a, uh, as you know, my most recent book was the myth of

Brian Perry:

certainty and other great news.

Brian Perry:

And it was really me trying to figure out how to embrace life, knowing

Brian Perry:

that there wasn't ever gonna be some lottery ticket arrival after

Brian Perry:

which everything was gonna be okay.

Brian Perry:

That, but that's not coming.

Brian Perry:

That's not a real thing.

Brian Perry:

So what does that look like?

Brian Perry:

And there's two things that came up that have emerged for.

Brian Perry:

As sort of anchor bits of wisdom since then.

Brian Perry:

And that is this notion from Epictetus, Greek stoic philosopher, which I'll the

Brian Perry:

bumper sticker version of his wisdom is we're not disturbed by things,

Brian Perry:

but by the view we take of them.

Brian Perry:

It's not the thing itself, but the view I'm taking of it.

Brian Perry:

Okay.

Brian Perry:

Well, that's interesting.

Brian Perry:

So this discomfort, this, this fallow period, I'm not traumatized

Brian Perry:

by it because it's happening.

Brian Perry:

It's because of what I'm deciding about.

Brian Perry:

That's the story piece and the others from a different philosopher from

Brian Perry:

the 20th century, Jerry Seinfeld

Brian Perry:

Um, and, and he was an episode of comedians and cars getting coffee.

Brian Perry:

He was talking with Trevor Noah about pain, like ouch pain.

Brian Perry:

And he said, I've come to the conclusion that pain is knowledge rushing into

Brian Perry:

fill a gap, stub your toe knowledge.

Brian Perry:

There's a table there, and you're not paying attention to where you.

Brian Perry:

So when I take those two pieces of information and I go, okay, I'm really

Brian Perry:

uncomfortable in this moment because I'm, I'm not having that creative outlet.

Brian Perry:

That brings me such joy.

Brian Perry:

And, and if I greet that and decide, okay, well I'm is discomfort.

Brian Perry:

That's a fact is discomfort.

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

Um, what do I do with it?

Brian Perry:

Pain is knowledge rushing into feel like, yeah.

Brian Perry:

Okay.

Brian Perry:

What is it telling me?

Brian Perry:

And that's when I, speaking of the gym, sort of get to the gym,

Brian Perry:

metaphorically speaking very often.

Brian Perry:

It's telling me that I'm not doing things.

Brian Perry:

To cultivate, I've gotten, you know, you know, Chuck cannon, right?

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Juliana Finch:

I did a workshop with him a long time ago.

Brian Perry:

Oh, did you?

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

And you know, he used to sail this a lot on it.

Brian Perry:

Probably still does on six man cruises and has a number of big hits in

Brian Perry:

the country, music world and such.

Brian Perry:

And on one of those cruises, I, I grabbed, I grabbed Chuck and, and.

Brian Perry:

I sailed with him a number of times, but I never really talked with him, was a

Brian Perry:

little bit intimidated by him and I, on the way out of the office there on ship,

Brian Perry:

I went, Hey, Chuck, let me grab him.

Brian Perry:

And if you don't mind that you don't notice about me, but I'm

Brian Perry:

actually a singer songwriter.

Brian Perry:

And I was curious, what do you do when it comes to writer's block?

Brian Perry:

Cause I'm not writing the way at that point.

Brian Perry:

I was not writing well, and I was, I was just really unsatisfied

Brian Perry:

with what was coming out and he's, and he looked at me hesitation.

Brian Perry:

He said he don't believe in writers' lives.

Brian Perry:

No such thing.

Brian Perry:

As writers, blog, just lazy writers.

Brian Perry:

He was right.

Brian Perry:

I have come to learn.

Brian Perry:

It's a misinterpretation of what the discomfort is telling me.

Brian Perry:

The discomfort is telling me it's time to shift into a different relationship.

Brian Perry:

I've read an issue of the performing songwriter magazine many years ago,

Brian Perry:

a similar take guy saying, well, I don't believe in writer's block.

Brian Perry:

I believe that I have input periods and output periods.

Brian Perry:

Yeah, exactly.

Brian Perry:

And, and when it's an output period, it's incumbent upon me to listen

Brian Perry:

carefully and set everything aside, you know, be ready to receive

Brian Perry:

when, when it wants to come out.

Brian Perry:

And when it's an input period, it's incumbent upon me to, to do the.

Brian Perry:

Which is turns out joyful because the work for me, anyhow, looks like

Brian Perry:

reading things that inspire me, listening to things that inspire

Brian Perry:

me, watching things that inspire me.

Brian Perry:

I don't mean inspire me to write.

Brian Perry:

I mean, just inspire me that ECHA me.

Brian Perry:

That caused me to feel something, to create creating quiet so that I'm become

Brian Perry:

a better listener when ideas do arrive.

Brian Perry:

And just, there is an element of trust in that in just showing.

Brian Perry:

To the cultivation, but I think there's also an element of honoring,

Brian Perry:

um, there's for me, Elizabeth Gilbert talked and her Ted talk about there's

Brian Perry:

essentially, you don't have to like that.

Brian Perry:

I feel this way, but there's some kind there's magic at foot in

Brian Perry:

creativity, straight up magic.

Brian Perry:

Woo, woo.

Brian Perry:

Magic.

Brian Perry:

Up and about happening there.

Brian Perry:

You know, however Nashville wants to try to systematize it.

Brian Perry:

There's an element of magic.

Brian Perry:

That's.

Brian Perry:

and I think part of my responsibility, having been given what feels to me like

Brian Perry:

a really sacred gift of being able to create whether, whether anybody else

Brian Perry:

likes it or not, it's irrelevant.

Brian Perry:

Somehow I get to write song.

Brian Perry:

That's freaking amazing.

Brian Perry:

That blows my mind.

Brian Perry:

And so I, I love the notion that my job and this relationship is to prepare

Juliana Finch:

the way.

Juliana Finch:

. Yeah.

Juliana Finch:

And some, sometimes that preparation means, you know, remove the things

Juliana Finch:

that are distracting you from the time to write that you want to have,

Juliana Finch:

because it is an output period.

Juliana Finch:

It's time to do it.

Juliana Finch:

Yeah.

Juliana Finch:

Or, and sometimes it means, like you said, sit back and listen, stop beating

Juliana Finch:

yourself up about not writing because what you're supposed to be doing is listening

Juliana Finch:

so that you have something to say.

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

Exactly.

Brian Perry:

That period of listening, it feels like my job is to just fill myself with.

Brian Perry:

like, so to, to, to deepen the colors that I have available to my

Brian Perry:

brush so that when the muse strikes again, have new colors to offer.

Brian Perry:

Um, if that makes sense.

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Juliana Finch:

And I love that you're using a visual metaphor,

Juliana Finch:

cuz for me when I'm needing some inspiration, one of the things I

Juliana Finch:

love to do is go to an art museum.

Juliana Finch:

Because it's not my medium, you know, it's not my art form, but it's really

Juliana Finch:

inspiring and, and seeing a great film or going to listen to music.

Juliana Finch:

That's not your genre of music can really sort of open things up.

Juliana Finch:

I think absolutely.

Juliana Finch:

When you're stuck.

Juliana Finch:

Absolutely.

Brian Perry:

I, I couldn't agree more.

Brian Perry:

I, you know, I also have a, I have a daily practice is something I took

Brian Perry:

from the, uh, uh, new thought author, Eckhart Tolle I have a daily practice

Brian Perry:

of just setting aside a few minutes.

Brian Perry:

To look to just sit in a space and notice things, same way you

Brian Perry:

would in an art gallery where you're just drinking in an image.

Brian Perry:

Well, we're surrounded by art all the time fundamentally.

Brian Perry:

And I just take the time to notice the lines and things, or to notice

Brian Perry:

the way the light hits something.

Brian Perry:

I am filling my brain with imagery.

Brian Perry:

I'm filling my brain with perspective and so much of, I think what we do

Brian Perry:

as artist, regardless of your medium.

Brian Perry:

Is that we are directing the emotional eye to something.

Brian Perry:

We want you to notice an aspect of, of something I've I've often said

Brian Perry:

that I feel like part of my job as a songwriter is I'm essentially an

Brian Perry:

emotional journalist, you know, taking careful notes on what it is to be human.

Brian Perry:

And that involves noticing.

Brian Perry:

Colors textures emotions.

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

And, and like you and I were talking about, I, I, one of the things that's

Brian Perry:

been a huge blessing for me during this, during the pandemic is how much

Brian Perry:

of the songwriting world, how much the artistic world in general, like

Brian Perry:

everything else has moved online.

Brian Perry:

And for me, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is some while I can, I love

Brian Perry:

being on a stage also wildly introverted and, uh, and inclined to being a, her.

Brian Perry:

The, the ability to connect with other artists online has been amazing.

Brian Perry:

One of the groups that I've gotten involved with during this time is a

Brian Perry:

result of a workshop that I saw Bonnie, a songwriter astonishing, just human offer.

Brian Perry:

She introduced to this group called thinking outside the pulled up website.

Brian Perry:

Before I got this call.

Brian Perry:

Cause the gospel of thinking outside the blocks dot.

Brian Perry:

Yeah,

Juliana Finch:

we can put that in the show notes too, for great

Juliana Finch:

to might wanna check it out.

Juliana Finch:

They're

Brian Perry:

Beste are the two astonishing talents and professionals.

Brian Perry:

Who've put that to community together and it's essentially community

Brian Perry:

of songwriters specifically, but I get exposed to that community.

Brian Perry:

We do a lot of like writing to prompts and just continue to develop in our craft,

Brian Perry:

studying different elements of the craft.

Brian Perry:

These are all things you do when you're not writing or when you.

Brian Perry:

But again, they're creating, they're telling the muse I am here for this.

Brian Perry:

I am not just here to keep writing the same song I wrote 10 years ago.

Juliana Finch:

Thank you.

Juliana Finch:

And they have, they have time constraints too, right?

Juliana Finch:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

So, yeah.

Brian Perry:

So like when we do for one of the consistent challenges, we,

Brian Perry:

we do classes every Saturday.

Brian Perry:

We have prompts throughout the week and conversations

Brian Perry:

throughout the week that go on.

Brian Perry:

But once a month we do what they call blockbuster challenge, the air quotes, but

Brian Perry:

you can't see them and, and they'll give you on a Thursday, they give you a prompt.

Brian Perry:

And a restriction like, like this past week or so ago, we did the

Brian Perry:

prompt was winning and losing right.

Brian Perry:

About something about that.

Brian Perry:

And the restriction was something about using intervals, deciding

Brian Perry:

on an interval you're gonna use.

Brian Perry:

And it was interesting cause it was kinda like backing in starting with the

Brian Perry:

music and then backing into the lyrics.

Brian Perry:

Doesn't matter all that's, I'm getting, going down the rabbit hole a little

Brian Perry:

bit, but yes, we have a restriction.

Brian Perry:

The idea is here's your prompt Thursday afternoon.

Brian Perry:

By the next Thursday, you need to submit.

Brian Perry:

To the group, a fully recorded and written song go, it doesn't have to be good.

Brian Perry:

Just have to be written.

Brian Perry:

And what that's helped me to do is a it's gotten me exposed

Brian Perry:

to a ton of different sounds.

Brian Perry:

Cause I'm just a focus singer.

Brian Perry:

I read a I've read songs on a acoustic guitar and I I've, I've never really

Brian Perry:

branched out into production or, or, uh, rich arrangements or anything.

Brian Perry:

I bring other people in for that.

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

You know, I think what I do is I, I do other things as you know, with

Brian Perry:

the speaking and other things that I.

Brian Perry:

I think that's where I get that itch scratched, but all those

Brian Perry:

different sounds I get exposed to through the group, the restriction

Brian Perry:

itself, it grows me all the time and expands my sense of what's possible.

Brian Perry:

But here's the important thing that I've learned.

Brian Perry:

It's made me so much less precious.

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

And, and I didn't realize that my preciousness was getting

Brian Perry:

in the way of my process.

Juliana Finch:

Um, yeah, that was one of the big things I took from, I spent

Juliana Finch:

a little bit of time in Nashville years ago and just do doing these co-writing

Juliana Finch:

meetings where it's, you know, four people in a room trying to write a country song.

Juliana Finch:

And one of the things I really learned from them was like, just know whether

Juliana Finch:

it's serving the song or not, and let it go if it's not working and it's okay.

Juliana Finch:

It doesn't, it's not the last idea you'll ever have.

Brian Perry:

Exactly.

Brian Perry:

That's exactly right.

Brian Perry:

When I was touring full time, I literally would.

Brian Perry:

Every time I drive through Nashville would roll down the window

Brian Perry:

and give it the middle finger.

Brian Perry:

And I just, I just felt like it was like the evil empire.

Brian Perry:

And then years later I was blessed to be invited to a songwriting camp up there.

Brian Perry:

Beth Nielson Chapman, or actually go ahead and just offer her

Brian Perry:

name as by way of gratitude.

Brian Perry:

Who's a very talented hit writer.

Brian Perry:

She wrote this kiss for faith hill mm-hmm and she invited me to the songwriting camp

Brian Perry:

after I wrote her a letter after Katrina I'm back in new Orleans and anyway, went

Brian Perry:

up there and she really encouraged me to get involved writing in Nashville.

Brian Perry:

And I had this aha moment.

Brian Perry:

I went, oh, right.

Brian Perry:

I can learn to write in different ways and it doesn't have to compromise what I do.

Brian Perry:

It's just another tool I get in my tool set.

Brian Perry:

After that camp, I started going up there once a month.

Brian Perry:

I'd spend a week up.

Brian Perry:

Like you're saying take like three or four writing appointments a day.

Brian Perry:

And, and that was so again, healing in terms of going, oh, right.

Brian Perry:

The way this works is you write songs and that's how you

Brian Perry:

become better at writing songs.

Brian Perry:

what a concept.

Brian Perry:

Right?

Brian Perry:

And the way you do that is you, you know, in Nashville in a

Brian Perry:

way, is you walk into a room.

Brian Perry:

What do you got?

Brian Perry:

I used to love the conversation we walk in.

Brian Perry:

So what are we doing?

Brian Perry:

Are we killing somebody?

Brian Perry:

Are they falling in love?

Brian Perry:

What are they doing?

Brian Perry:

What's happening?

Brian Perry:

, you know, Again, all that helped me become less precious and brought

Brian Perry:

me back to, or brings me back to one of the things that I love most

Brian Perry:

about being able to do this craft.

Brian Perry:

And that is, you know, you and I have both done.

Brian Perry:

You still do acting, we've both done other creative endeavors that work

Brian Perry:

a little bit different than music.

Brian Perry:

For me.

Brian Perry:

The goal with music has always been, Hey, if you really

Brian Perry:

become wildly successful, yes.

Brian Perry:

You get to perform and be on amazing stages and all that.

Brian Perry:

But basically you get to get to write for a.

Brian Perry:

You get to write songs for a living in, in our industry.

Brian Perry:

The beauty of that is the way you get the opportunity to do

Brian Perry:

that is by writing better songs.

Brian Perry:

And the way you do that is by writing song.

Brian Perry:

so, so I get to do the thing that if I'm wildly successful is what

Brian Perry:

I'm doing, the thing to get to do.

Juliana Finch:

Right.

Juliana Finch:

You're already doing it.

Juliana Finch:

Like the measure of success is not the thing that determines

Juliana Finch:

whether you're a songwriter or not.

Juliana Finch:

It's that's right.

Juliana Finch:

Whether you're writing songs or not.

Brian Perry:

That's right.

Brian Perry:

And that continues to be the thing that brings me the most joy.

Brian Perry:

Now we'll say I remember Amy Ray for any girl she years ago in an interview

Brian Perry:

was being asked about writer, blah.

Brian Perry:

And she was also sort of defying the notion.

Brian Perry:

and saying that becomes really important to let yourself write

Brian Perry:

crappy song and because the crappy songs get you to the good songs.

Brian Perry:

And I can tell you in this thinking outside the blocks group every month,

Brian Perry:

there are people that post songs that they're like, I really don't like this

Brian Perry:

one, but, and then everyone will be like, but that one line circle back

Brian Perry:

to that, that's a great song, you know, or people will submit something.

Brian Perry:

They'll be like, I didn't really get, I got like 30 seconds of the song.

Brian Perry:

That's all I've got.

Brian Perry:

Okay, great.

Brian Perry:

That's something you continue to tell the use.

Brian Perry:

I'm here for this.

Brian Perry:

I'm here for.

Brian Perry:

So I want it to be simpler than that.

Brian Perry:

I want writer's block to be like, Hey, I can just take a pill or flip a switch,

Brian Perry:

but that's me demonizing discomfort.

Brian Perry:

I think that writer's block ultimately is pointing me to where

Brian Perry:

I'm ready to level up in some way.

Brian Perry:

And happily that be kind of turns out to be a bit of a joyful process.

Juliana Finch:

So it sounds like for you, like having accountability, external

Juliana Finch:

accountability is a really helpful tool.

Juliana Finch:

Because you've got this group that you're, you've gotta turn the

Juliana Finch:

thing in which I think is great.

Juliana Finch:

I think that's something that's really helpful.

Juliana Finch:

If people are stuck is just like find a friend and tell

Juliana Finch:

them what you're trying to do.

Juliana Finch:

Yes.

Juliana Finch:

Like today I wanna write a chorus and I'm telling you, because if I

Juliana Finch:

only tell myself I can ignore myself yes, but I can't ignore my friend

Juliana Finch:

who I said I would do this for.

Juliana Finch:

And also I think having like time constraints is really helpful

Juliana Finch:

or any kind of constraint.

Juliana Finch:

I know when I used to write primarily poetry.

Juliana Finch:

For me, it was fun to play in form, you know, and like,

Juliana Finch:

choose, choose a form for a poem.

Juliana Finch:

You could do that with a song too, of course.

Juliana Finch:

And just be like, okay, I'm only gonna write this certain rhyme scheme and it can

Juliana Finch:

kind of get the juices flowing that way.

Brian Perry:

These are all tools, right?

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

I mean, they're all, they're all tools that help us.

Brian Perry:

What I, what I'm learning is at this point in my life, I turned 50 in a few months.

Brian Perry:

At this point in my life.

Brian Perry:

I'm returning to what mattered to me when I started doing this when I was 20.

Brian Perry:

And that is.

Brian Perry:

I am obsessed with this craft.

Brian Perry:

I think it's, it's miraculous.

Brian Perry:

It changes.

Brian Perry:

I have songs that have saved my life.

Brian Perry:

You.

Brian Perry:

No uncertain terms.

Brian Perry:

And so for me, I wanna just keep growing.

Brian Perry:

I wanna keep learning.

Brian Perry:

And when I hit those fall periods, which let's make no mistake, they suck.

Brian Perry:

When, when you're there, it's, it's an awful feeling, but it, it seems to direct

Brian Perry:

me to, Hey, how do I keep learning?

Brian Perry:

And, you know, and just kinda running through quick tips

Brian Perry:

that really are useful to me.

Brian Perry:

Somebody in Nashville years ago said, here's what I need you to do.

Brian Perry:

I want you to get up every day and I want you to set a timer for

Brian Perry:

five minutes and I want you to.

Brian Perry:

At least four Stans in that five minutes and I don't need it to be good.

Brian Perry:

I just need it to be done.

Brian Perry:

And that's one of those things that when I catch myself, Hey,

Brian Perry:

I'm not writing right now.

Brian Perry:

When was the last time you did that?

Brian Perry:

I haven't been doing that at all.

Brian Perry:

It's five minutes.

Brian Perry:

I can do five minutes.

Brian Perry:

And when I do it directs my thinking I just, the copywriter on me.

Brian Perry:

It directs my thinking to what I wish I was thinking, you know,

Brian Perry:

it's, it's, it directs my thinking to, to, to how to think like a

Brian Perry:

songwriter and see like a, so.

Brian Perry:

Books do that too.

Brian Perry:

Reading the right reading books on creativity.

Brian Perry:

Do that for me, listening to podcast on creativity like this one and

Brian Perry:

remembering that it's not a glitch, the feature of the process of living

Brian Perry:

a life as a creative helps me to feel.

Brian Perry:

It's like, it's actually kind of a sign of a membership card.

Brian Perry:

I, you know, I stepped into copywriting during the pandemic.

Brian Perry:

And one of the things I say to my accountability partners in that group

Brian Perry:

is I say, I love how often we'll show up and be like, so how's your work on

Brian Perry:

that thing going that you're working on?

Brian Perry:

How's it going?

Brian Perry:

And one of us will be like, you know, it's, it's going,

Brian Perry:

it's such a mess right now.

Brian Perry:

It's like chaos, which means it's probably about to come.

Brian Perry:

Mm.

Brian Perry:

Yeah, you, you start to recognize this is part of process and

Brian Perry:

not a, not a glitch in it.

Brian Perry:

I saw Paul Simon speak years ago at Emory Emory university in Atlanta.

Brian Perry:

He was invited there to be, he was the first time they invited a songwriter

Brian Perry:

for particular artist and residence program thing they were doing.

Brian Perry:

I don't know what it's called, but doesn't.

Brian Perry:

I remember sitting there in the congregation.

Brian Perry:

I say it that way.

Brian Perry:

Cuz we were in a church, but for me it felt like church.

Brian Perry:

I mean it's Paul Simon and, and he said he was asked about what he is working on.

Brian Perry:

And he said something like he hadn't written a song in

Brian Perry:

seven years or something.

Brian Perry:

And that simultaneously was deeply affirming and made me wanna run

Brian Perry:

from the building screaming.

Juliana Finch:

Right?

Juliana Finch:

Like it doesn't get

Brian Perry:

better.

Brian Perry:

right.

Brian Perry:

What are you talking about?

Brian Perry:

That's don't tell me that you're you've written.

Brian Perry:

Half of the modern American songbook, but you know, it's

Brian Perry:

just, it's part of the process.

Juliana Finch:

Yeah.

Juliana Finch:

And it's always part of the process.

Juliana Finch:

It's not a thing that gets cured in the sense that like you mature

Juliana Finch:

out of it or you become good enough that it doesn't happen to you.

Juliana Finch:

It happens to even Paul Simon for God's sake.

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

Part of the process is so critical.

Brian Perry:

I'm trying to, I'm trying to make a distinction in my mind that I'm not

Brian Perry:

sure how to make, it's not it's it's not about for me on a daily basis.

Brian Perry:

It's not about embracing it like, oh, this is part of the process.

Brian Perry:

And so I tolerate it.

Brian Perry:

It's really celebrating it as part of the process, somehow coming to a

Brian Perry:

place of going, this is a gift I'm being offered right now that I'm not

Brian Perry:

writing well, lemme put it this way.

Brian Perry:

One of the things that's helped to me and you've been a, a

Brian Perry:

model to me in this regard.

Brian Perry:

You're very, you've been very good at navigating the business

Brian Perry:

side of being a creative in many.

Brian Perry:

I think for me over the years, I spent way too many years

Brian Perry:

demonizing the business side.

Brian Perry:

But, but the business isn't antithetical to what I love about the craft, the

Brian Perry:

business supports the art supports the business, supports the art it's.

Brian Perry:

It's what allows me to do it in the same way that my dry period support

Brian Perry:

my growth, which supports my fertile periods, which supports my growth.

Brian Perry:

Does that make sense?

Brian Perry:

Yeah, absolutely.

Brian Perry:

And again, none of this is easy.

Brian Perry:

It's all always say in my social media post, I'm always like, you

Brian Perry:

know, whenever, whenever always shares we're people, particularly on social

Brian Perry:

media are always sharing answers.

Brian Perry:

Like it just now that now you've got it.

Brian Perry:

No, that's it takes it's it's practice.

Brian Perry:

It's practice.

Brian Perry:

There's a reason that there are monks in monasteries and they're

Brian Perry:

doing, and they're meditating all the time and then it takes practice.

Brian Perry:

All these things take practice, everything.

Brian Perry:

Absolutely.

Brian Perry:

Everything you're good at takes practice.

Brian Perry:

Usually when I hit a fallow period, I'm not practicing in some way.

Juliana Finch:

So I wanna end with something a little unusual.

Juliana Finch:

Like normally I would ask people like, what's a tip that you wanna leave

Juliana Finch:

artists with, but because I have you here and I happen to know that you had

Juliana Finch:

a project that's been going on for a long time, where you write inspirational

Juliana Finch:

messages on the back of your.

Juliana Finch:

And drive around town and people get to see them and photograph them.

Juliana Finch:

And you've done it for my car when I went on tour, which was awesome.

Juliana Finch:

It was so great.

Juliana Finch:

So if you had a hindsight, if you had something that you would leave on the

Juliana Finch:

rear window of our listeners car, and that listener is a person who hasn't written

Juliana Finch:

anything in a while and just really hoping they'll be able to do that again.

Juliana Finch:

What do you think that might say?

Juliana Finch:

That's nice.

Brian Perry:

Well, may I frame what the hindsights are real quick?

Brian Perry:

Yeah, absolutely.

Brian Perry:ion of the long story back in:Brian Perry:

new Orleans saints went to the super bowl and hell froze over.

Brian Perry:

And, uh, and when I went to new Orleans to, to be there, to celebrate the game

Brian Perry:

and watch, watch the game there with friends, I rode on the back of my car,

Brian Perry:

like, you know, who dad, all that kind of stuff and honk of your same fan.

Brian Perry:

And, and the response was so fun that when I got back, I, I decided

Brian Perry:

to throw up like a motivational quote there that I just thought was.

Brian Perry:

And I'm saying pens that people use for just married or graduation or whatever,

Brian Perry:

it's a paint pen, the window marker.

Brian Perry:

And I write that on the back of my windshield.

Brian Perry:

And I started doing that with motivational quotes.

Brian Perry:

And again, the response that I received from people, not like how

Brian Perry:

cool you are, but the response that people coming up and being like,

Brian Perry:

gosh, that really means a lot to me.

Brian Perry:

Thank you.

Brian Perry:

I needed that today.

Brian Perry:

It was really powerful.

Brian Perry:

And then I started to notice how it was changing my perspective,

Brian Perry:

cuz I would see it in my rear view mirror and it would surprise.

Brian Perry:

and, and so I then started to use it intentionally and I would essentially

Brian Perry:

not more or less a weekly basis, I still do coach myself going, what is the one

Brian Perry:

thing, if somebody said to me right now came up to me randomly on the street and

Brian Perry:

said blank, and it would be exactly the words that I need to hear in this moment.

Brian Perry:

What would that be?

Brian Perry:

And that changes because I'm constantly trying to change or practice.

Brian Perry:

A new perspective, change of thought, change, shift my perspective on

Brian Perry:

something and allow myself to live and as a result of different experience.

Brian Perry:

So that's where the hindsights come from.

Brian Perry:

They're never, they're very rarely anyway, about something that I'm trying to put up.

Brian Perry:

That's clever.

Brian Perry:

They're almost always about something I'm trying to, I'm trying to shift.

Brian Perry:

Yeah.

Brian Perry:

And so in this, in the context of what we're talking about here, a

Brian Perry:

hindsight that I would offer returning to your question, somebody that

Brian Perry:

that's dealing with, writer's blog, that's dealing with these kind of.

Brian Perry:

My first reaction when you said that was, was this.

Brian Perry:

So I'll go with my first reaction was to say it's working yeah.

Brian Perry:

Keep, keep going, keep growing.

Brian Perry:

It's it's working.

Brian Perry:

That's it.

Brian Perry:

This, I love this is, this is, this is, this is, this is what

Brian Perry:

it looks like to be a creative.

Brian Perry:

How cool is that fact that you are churned up?

Brian Perry:

Because you're not writing means that, you know, you can write how cool is.

Brian Perry:

The fact that you wish you were writing something better means,

Brian Perry:

you know, there's something better.

Brian Perry:

How cool is that it's working?

Brian Perry:

Just, just keep growing

Juliana Finch:

it's working.

Juliana Finch:

I love it.

Juliana Finch:

Thank you so much, Brian.

Juliana Finch:

This has been an awesome conversation and I know that our listeners, thank

Juliana Finch:

you are gonna get a lot out of it.

Juliana Finch:

And where can people find you if they want to find you on the internet?

Brian Perry:

So I I'm on yes.

Brian Perry:

Brian perry.com as in the opposite of no, Y yes.

Brian Perry:

BRIANPERRY com.

Brian Perry:

And yes, Brian Perry on Instagram, Facebook and

Juliana Finch:

LinkedIn.

Juliana Finch:

All right.

Juliana Finch:

And I hope people will find you and I look forward to hearing

Juliana Finch:

what's next in your world.

Juliana Finch:

It's always something

Brian Perry:

exciting.

Brian Perry:

And thank you, Juliana.

Brian Perry:

I mean, this has been really a treat to, to have this conversation and, and

Brian Perry:

to, to talk with our creative tribe, we.

Brian Perry:

Beautiful growing, striving, challenged.

Brian Perry:

Dysfunctional, highly functioning, poetic, artistic family.

Brian Perry:

and I'm grateful to be part of it.

Brian Perry:

So

Tamara Kissane:Established in:Tamara Kissane:

studio based in North Carolina.

Tamara Kissane:

Artist soapbox produces original scripted audio fiction and an ongoing interview

Tamara Kissane:

podcast about the creative process.

Tamara Kissane:

We cultivate aspiring audio Dramatists and producers, and we partner with

Tamara Kissane:

organizations and individuals to create new audio content for more

Tamara Kissane:

information and ways to support our work.

Tamara Kissane:

Check out artist soapbox.org, or find us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Tamara Kissane:

The artist soapbox theme song is ashes by Juliana Finch.

Artist Soapbox

Artist Soapbox is a platform for original scripted audio fiction and an opportunity for artists to discuss their creative work in their own voices. We do this through our interview podcast, our blog, and original audio dramas.

Artist Soapbox is an anti-racist organization. We believe Black Lives Matter. In addition, as an audio production company, ASBX has signed the Equality in Audio Pact on Broccoli Content.

Artist Soapbox is more than just an interview podcast.

We lead writers groups, accountability support, events, and workshops. We create and produce audio dramas too! Listen to the Master BuilderThe New Colossus Audio Drama, Declaration of Love, and ASBX Shorts. Stay tuned to hear about more projects written by the Soapbox Audio Collective Writers’ Group.

Artist Soapbox is about Empowerment & Connection.

Artist Soapbox was founded on the belief that if we (humans/artists) talk with each other, and if we LISTEN to each other, then we’ll make better art. We’ll form a stronger community. We’ll feel more empowered and less alone.

Artist Soapbox goes deep into the creative process.

On Artist Soapbox podcast, artists in the Triangle are invited to put words around their creative journeys and processes.

Artist Soapbox explores all artistic mediums.

We believe we can learn from all artists. Artist Soapbox is open to the full spectrum of art-makers and has interviewed creatives in theatre, dance, visual, literary, craft, administration, film making, photography, music, design and more.

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