#BigThingsThursday is a weekly series of short interviews with people who are doing big things for the community and for the world. If you know someone who's doing big things, let me know: BigThings@LucyKalantari.com.
Meet Amelia Robinson: musician, songwriter, educator, ukulele extraordinaire with a beautiful spirit. She has a fearless way of expressing herself through music, whether it's with a 500-piece bicycle bell symphony, or releasing an album with 41 beautifully diverse instruments played by people in her community. I feel like I run into Amelia everywhere I go–sometimes I really do, in person around Brooklyn, randomly. And other times, I'll run into her album cover artwork on 5th Avenue in Park Slope, or read about her in local magazines, or in emails from Lincoln Center. There's a reason for her seemingly ubiquitous presence: she offers a loving energy that inspires people to come together. What's more, she uses her super powers for good.
Q. BIG THINGS begin with an intention, what is yours?
A. My intention is to LOVE. To use music as a way to connect with others in hopes of reaching a deeper understanding of humanity. Currently, this journey has incited an onslaught of weird subconscious ideas that are looking like the backbone of the most ridiculous album I will maybe ever make.
Q. How are you fulfilling this intention?
A. I'm making music.. a lot of it! Right now I am exploring the relationship I have with my craft by writing a song a week, practicing meditating writing, and trying to surrender to the present moment. I think it's really important to establish a healthy and sustaining ability to tap into one's creativity on a daily basis.
Q. What barriers have you encountered, and how have you dealt with them?
A. 1) Writing: One of my teachers once said "the hardest part of writing is the psychological trauma of doing it". Just sitting down to start is often the hardest part. But once you do it, you've done it and that's something to be proud of! Making attainable goals has helped - like "I'm going to play three notes over and over again while staring out this window...and just see what happens".
2) The Unknown: Lately I've found it really challenging to be in the middle of a creative project and not know how it's going to take shape. There's pressure in our society to present a finished product that is shiny and glimmery and perfect and the reality is that things just don't pop out that way! You definitely have to separate your creative mind from your critical mind and allow for the ideas to flow before you think about how you're going to market something or package it. That's a hard space to be in for me sometimes, cuz my mind is so active. Running helps!
3) Decisions: If you work for yourself as I do, it's sometimes hard to not have a team of people around you to bounce ideas off of or make decisions with, so I rely heavily on close family and friends who I trust and who can guide me towards the answers I need (which often are staring me right in the face) and remind me that things take time! (That's what I get for growing up in NYC...)
4) Drive: There are a lot of reasons to not feel satisfied with what we have -- inside and out. It's hard to always love ourselves and trust in our abilities. Often it's because someone is telling us we need this face cream, and another is telling us our lives will not be complete without that hue of lipstick, or those beautiful suede boots. How can we feel good enough just the way we are with the gifts we were given? How can we find balances, like working to fulfill a passion while actually enjoying the ride? The key I think is to learn to love yourself–send yourself kind thoughts, and take time to do sweet things for yourself, like cook a nice meal. If you take care of yourself first, you'll be much better equipped to help others.
Extra: Share a favorite quote that keeps you motivated.
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." –Picasso
We love you, Amelia. Thank you for doing what you do and following that passion to connect with the world.
Friends, you can catch her live at her Mils Trills 7th Annual Winter Bash! January 29th at ShapeShifter Lab, Brooklyn, NY. You can find out more info about Amelia and her Mils Trills project for kids & families, and more on her websites: www.milstrills.com and www.ameliarobinson.co.uk.
And I will leave you with this beautifully creative video made by kids from 6-11! It's super cool!