Hear Me Out


Fear of the unknown

Johanne Hudson-Lett

Anxiety, worry, fear. These are all feelings that we experience throughout our lives. That fear can be placed on a scale depending on many factors. Is it life threatening? Does it affect just you? What would a bad outcome look like? Is this fear temporary?

The next question is: how should you address this fear and should we compare it to what others may fear?

Three months into the job as Hear Me Out’s Artistic Director and my fear is: will The Unknowns EP gig launch be a success? Will we have a decent sized audience? Will it be well organised and all possible scenarios covered? As I build on this wall of worries, a thought strikes and the wall is shattered with the bigger questions. There is a fear that is out of my control, a worry that will affect the band. This is a shared fear but more personal to some of the members of The Unknowns band.. Will they be here to play on the night? Will an instruction arrive from the Home Office to inform them that they are to be deported or moved from their accommodation to a different part of the country? Now, that is fear.

I can’t tell you how they cope individually but I know that music and the sharing of stories through music helps them to understand and validate their situation. The Iranian rapper, African pianist and vocalist, the Kosovan lyricist and vocalist, are a small section of the people who make up this band of tremendously talented musicians. The Unknowns have created an EP that is an emotional vehicle, a collection of thought provoking lyrics to convey what is in their hearts. Stories of homelands, hope, dreams, and a better future.

So here I am, putting my fear on a scale and comparing it to those who I’m serving. My fear is manageable if the marketing is tight and our supporters come out (and if it’s not raining). The worry of ‘will there be a big enough audience’ will dissolve like popping candy come 8.20pm as the first set of the gig is in full flow. For some members of The Unknowns, this fear never goes away; however, whilst on stage they are talented musicians entertaining, bringing joy and escapism to others, with no or very little head space for their worries. That’s the power of music, it transcends.

A different fear for me will surely take its place once the gig is over, but I’ve gained a new understanding of how to process some of my fears. Embrace it, understand it, work out what needs to be done to make the fear more manageable, and find someone to share it with. I have learnt by listening to The Unknowns and their music that solidarity can bind you, offer new positive energy, and make you feel less alone.

Listen to The Unknowns' EP: 'Echoes of Hope'

Photo by Akil Wilson.


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