Following a creative calling takes a fearless attitude

By Beverley Knight

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We hope people want the best for us – to feel encouraged and to have someone to keep us on track when the going gets tough. Deciding what to do in life can strike like lightning or take some twists and turns along the way. Following a creative calling takes a fearless attitude, even if you need to overcome doubts. There can be rejection and judgement of your choices and art, so you need devotion from every fibre of your being so the right team behind you can make all the difference to your ride.

It often starts with your nearest and dear. New Yorker Kandy Krush, who makes drill, melodic trap, and R&B sounds, was a little shy growing up, but she was fortunate: Her family were her biggest fans. “I was only nine, but they assured me I should be doing music and prompted me to pursue it,” she says.

Creativity can be a career choice that practical types and parents, in particular, find scary, but it’s understandable. Ndrasa was born in the Netherlands and now lives in Canada, fusing r&b, jazz, funk and soul. When she thinks back, music wasn’t something Ndrasa’s family could imagine her doing. She says, “Like any parents, they want to see their children succeed; in certain fields, there’s more guaranteed success.”

Throughout life, stand-out people get it, like Ndrasa’s beloved grandfather. “I was a child with a lot of self-doubt and insecurities, and he was able to see that.” He told her how special she was and predicted great things would happen. Next, he asked her to sing him a song; she chose Amazing Grace. “Afterwards, I looked down because I was nervous. My grandfather hugged me and told me that if I was to succeed in music, I should always remain humble.”

Being born into a musical family is a bonus. At eight years old, Divine Favour found solace in the rhythms of drum beats. By the age of 12, his passion for singing blew up. An encounter with his local pastor at Berlin Church in Germany ignited an interest in music production. “Under the guidance and mentorship of my pastor, I learned the intricacies of music production. He nurtured my talent for creating soul-stirring melodies.”

South East Londoner Terks is an afroswing, hip-hop artist and couldn’t have asked for better advice. “My dad used to be a singer and has experience in the music industry.” There’s an honesty from his father that he appreciates. “He says I should keep doing music, but I shouldn’t rely on it as education should always come first.”

Carma Yé, who makes music for many moods, is from Camden, New Jersey. She struggled with her parents’ dysfunctional attempts at co-parenting after their divorce. “At nine, I entered the foster care system where I spent a lot of time in solitude.” It wasn’t until she faced with adversity that she discovered her ability to write her feelings out melodically. “Once I began sharing my transmuted pain through songs, my peers who were also in the system encouraged me to keep going. It became a form of therapy for me and others.”

A good bunch of mates is always good medicine for the soul. When Terks started taking music seriously at 17, his pals were massively positive. “I was hesitant, but they kept pushing me to post my music on socials.” Influences can come from superstars or people closer to home. Kandy Krush feels this with a childhood friend. “Watching him grow as an artist impresses me. It knocks down all the fear and actually makes me want to go harder.”

God motivates Divine Favour to follow his musical heart. In return, he delivers the messages of Christ. His faith and devotion give him purpose. “In a world often plagued by darkness and despair, I want my music to shine as a beacon of hope and inspiration, reminding listeners of the transformative power of God’s love.”

Having the chance to observe artists you admire often spurns you on to join the club, because they’re a worthy source of inspiration, and it’s good to learn how their music got from them to your ears. Sometimes, Terks interprets some of what he’s digging into his style, but he must stay in his own lane. “I try not to compare myself to others because I don’t want to bring my confidence down and ruin momentum when I’m making music.”

Surrounding yourself with a tribe of creative folks is empowering. Carma’s grateful for her people – they empower her to stay inventive. “Daily check-ins from them keep me aligned and accountable to my creative goals.” Collaborating and lifting others can reassure you that you’re on the right path, so Ndrasa’s worked with Screamo, wrote lyrics for a country singer and studied with an opera singer. “She says, “I’m always learning by going to workshops.”

Last thing, don’t forget you. Be nice to yourself; be your biggest champion. Self-belief is essential in this game. It may waiver, but the creative light must never go out. Carma says, “I keep a baby picture of myself by my bed so that I remember to honour my curiosities and playfulness when I’m pursuing my dreams. It keeps me optimistic and unattached to outcomes.”

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Cover photo: Kandy Krush