PLDN Talks – Renell Shaw – ‘A creative personal balance’


WELCOME TO PLDN TALKS! AS WE ALL KNOW, CORONAVIRUS HAS GOT A HUGE CHUNK OF OUR INDUSTRY WORKING FROM HOME AND AS CREATIVES. WE LAUNCHED PLDN TALKS AS A SUPPORT PLATFORM DURING THE OUTBREAK. DAILY, BITESIZE EDUCATIONAL CONTENT FROM CREATIVE MINDS ALL OVER THE WORLD TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITY INSPIRED.

Hi everyone. My name is Renell Shaw. I’m a songwriter, composer, and music producer. And today I’m just going to have a little chat with you about some of the things I do to keep myself in a healthy space of creative and personal balance. So let’s begin. When I wake up in the morning, one of the first things I do is I say, Renell be kind to yourself.

That’s so important for me because I feel that we beat ourselves down so much long before other people can get in there and do that for us. We are our own worst creeks and we compare ourselves to others all the time. I personally believe comparison is poison. And the reason I say that is because you were one of a kind.

There’s no one else like you on this planet. And even though we are inspired by other people. How we receive our, how we process it, and then how we deliver it. That’s a unique experience that only we can deliver. So be kind to yourself. I say to the artists I work with, be kind to yourself and enjoy what you produce and look at it as a reflection of the times or where you are at that time because you will consistently get better.

You will consistently do new things and you will consistently surpass. Whatever you did before because that’s just what we do. We’re growing. That’s why art finds a way. Life finds a way. We keep growing. Anyway. What else? Health, mental health, physical health, spiritual health. The way I take care of all three is with martial arts.

I’ve been doing martial arts since I was about nine years old. The two styles that I study are Wing Chun and Tai Chi. Tai Chi is more of a softer style, which allows me to really focus on breathing and mindfulness, stretching, slowing down, and really just feeling my body in a sense of where the aches and pains are.

Or if I’m holding tension on my chest or my shoulders, I really know it’s that when I’m doing Tai Chi and then I do my best to alleviate those tensions. And, just, you know, be more chill. Simple as that. The wing Chun on the other side for me is more explosive. It’s more of an energy output kind of burner, and I just can get a lot of stuff off my chest.

IfI’m having a bad day, whoever’s in the room with me is going to feel it that night. But, what it does is it allows me to maintain a balance when I go into work. Whether it’s on a track or in a meeting or in compositions or in a theatre. I’m able to work very well under pressure because I take that time every morning to practise my martial arts.

What else? Habits. Habits. Healthy habits. So important. Okay, so during this quarantine time, I have been getting up in the morning, brushing my teeth, showering, getting dressed, eating breakfast. Just like I would on any other day at the same time in the morning. Like I’m going out to go to the studio or something that helps me just anchor my morning.

It gives me a reason to go to bed at a decent time so I can get up at the time I plan to without feeling tired. And I do that throughout the day as well. So midday I’ll have lunch, I’ll read for a little bit. I’ll call some family members just to see how they’re doing. And in the evening, I will normally wind down, watch a movie.

Maybe listen to some music. And it’s not to say that those things may not happen throughout the day, but I will make sure there were specific time slots for at least those three things, just to kind of give my day, you know, pinpoints. So yes, habits, habits, habits, so important. And right now, habits and routines really do help.

Just give you a sense of time and place and all of that. The last thing, this one for me is so important. Remember why you started and that can be in whatever your craft is, wherever you’re into. Remember why you started. My mum used to say that to me all the time when I used to get so caught up in the music business and contracts and you know, write in splits and you know, the market in, she’d go, remember why you started, remember why you got into playing the guitar, why you got into poetry and writing songs.

Remember the joy that brought to you and find that and put that at the forefront of everything before all of the business. Not saying the business isn’t important. It’s very important, but it means nothing if you sacrifice the art for the business. So in all your creative endeavours, in all your new ideas, in whatever is that you are planning or doing or struggling with when you feel a bit lost, remember why you started when things are.

Going so well, and there’s this happening and that happening. Remember why you started? Because it’s that initial spark of joy that made you go, I want to do that. Or I’m going to be involved in this for the rest of my life, which has taken you so far. So take a moment, be kind to yourself. Breathe.

Remember why you started, and then just move forward. Take care of your body, take care of your mind. Take care of your spirit. Give the mind some routines so that it can anchor itself to certain parts of the day and be safe. And when we come out of this, let me see some art. That’s a terrible way to end it.

Check back each day for a new topic, from a new creative – you might learn something useful!

TO FEATURE ON A PLDN TALK, EMAIL – LUKE@PARADISE.LONDON