Artwork for podcast Artist Soapbox * Audio fiction + Creative Process
169: Listening to creative discomfort with singer/songwriter, Brian Perry
Episode 16929th August 2022 • Artist Soapbox * Audio fiction + Creative Process • Tamara Kissane
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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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Transcripts

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:

Short version of the long story back in 2009, my, my beloved

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 2017, artist soapbox is a podcast production

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.

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