Happy New Year!

I hope 2023 was a good one for you on the whole – and I hope you all had a lovely restful Christmas break!

As we begin a new year, it’s time once again for my annual retrospective – one of my newsletter traditions where I reflect on the lessons learned from the previous year, the challenges faced, and some hopes for the coming year. 2023 was a really lovely year for me, and I’ve got lots to share, most of which has impacted my perspective and approach as a songwriter/musician.

This newsletter is a little longer than usual, so settle down with a cuppa, and let’s get into it.

stepping back and reconnecting with myself

After releasing my album in 2022, I found myself completely burned out and unsure of what I wanted to do next – so I vowed to take a step back from the ambitions and goals and constant driving forward and driving myself into the ground. 2023 would be a year of healing, growth, and connecting with my values, needs, and desires. What do I want? No, what do I really want?

My quiet life became a resting place this year – the self-care routines, the loved ones around me, the nature in South Wales. I wrote pages and pages of messy song drafts, noodled around on my piano, tended to my herb garden, hosted parties, swam in the sea, had nightmares, laughed until I cried, cried until I laughed, wrote through the dark places, and kept going even when I didn’t know where exactly I was heading.

I’m grateful to have reached 2024 (and my mid-30s) feeling more confident, more grounded, and more receptive to joy. It’s a huge ongoing practice in releasing control, in learning what drains me vs what lights me up, and in sitting with my self through it all. But with every passing year, I grow more into myself. There is no prime of life – it just keeps getting better.

Things are never done, of course (I’m a story incomplete). I’m still figuring out what kind of artist I want to be, where my place is in the new music industry, and how to balance my ambition with my soft heart. But whatever the answers to those questions, I know I’ll keep writing and releasing music, keep working with amazing artists who inspire me, and keep making beautiful visuals to go with my music. And I’ve started writing album 2! I’m not sure what it’ll sound like, but I’m thinking bigger, darker, and heavier. Watch this space.

Here’s what I got up to this year:

achievements I’m most proud of

  • Writing and releasing an amazing EP with Mishkin Fitzgerald, with 4 songs that I’m really proud of
  • Playing over 20 shows this year, some of which were the best shows I’ve ever played
  • Focusing on strengthening and developing my singing voice through professional vocal coaching
  • Prioritising my wellbeing, and pulling myself out of intense burnout
  • Rejecting toxic positivity and hustle culture, and allowing myself to slow down and take care of myself
  • Trying lots of new things, allowing myself to be an awkward beginner, and not expecting perfection
  • Taking a leap of faith by going on my first ever off-grid retreat with a group of strangers in North Wales (totally worth the risk)
  • Successfully growing carrots and sage for the first time ever
  • Finally getting a half-sleeve tattoo on my left arm after years of indecision

in 2024, I hope to…

  • Release a brand new song
  • Collaborate with more artists, including another collab with Mishkin
  • Finish a first draft of my next album
  • Write a ‘40 Before 40’ list
  • Improve my bass playing (and maybe join a band again one day…?)
  • Do one unassisted chin-up
  • Eat a more plant-based diet
  • Make time to regularly connect with nature
  • Visit new cities I’ve never been to before
  • Reject perfectionism and excessive self-criticism
  • Reject the fear of being ‘cringe’
  • Reject internalised ageism, and embrace my ageing and all the good that comes with it

finally: a sneak peek of what’s next

This autumn I worked on something special in my hometown of Llanelli … it’ll be shared with the world at the end of January, but here’s little a peek behind the scenes for you … any guesses?

As always, thank you to everyone who supports my art and who reads my newsletters – your support means the world to me, and really helps me get through the dark times when it feels like my head is full of bees. There’s lots of exciting things coming up in 2024 that I can’t wait to share with you. I hope you have lots to look forward to as well.

C xx

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