Joanna Finch is singing the Happy Hobo Blues (one of her many original compositions) as she revs up for a year — or perhaps longer — of transition.
“I want to move from feeling attached to security and familiarity to putting myself in a place where I am all I need,” she says. “I want to live by my wits, focus on my music and live within the limits of my means, creativity and energy.”
The first step in this mid-life change was finding someone to rent her home of 21 years and getting rid of a lot of “stuff.” A month into her new life Finch was still sorting through the material goods she’s accumulated over a lifetime and has moved three times in her new role of house-sitter.
“It stated as sort of a joke about a year ago,” she says. “I had this image of just dropping everything and walking out the door with a suitcase.”
Of course, nothing is ever as simple as we think it will be.
Finch has plans to take the train across Canada, meeting old friends and playing music along the way. Then she’d like to travel to Paris and the Caribbean to visit family. The idea is romantic and adventuresome, the reality a bit different.
“Unfortunately, you need money to do anything these days,” Finch notes. “So I’ll either find a well-paying job somewhere else or stay in the Valley for a while and continue to work on call for the school district and teach voice lessons and Vocal Ease classes.”
She knows staying means she’ll probably get sucked back into her day to day life. But she has lots of recording projects to finish and is looking forward to that.
Still, she longs to escape and live simply.
“I’m really exploring the idea of how much stuff and money I need,” Finch says. “I’d like to live in the most uncomplicated way possible.
“But so many musicians tell me how difficult it is to make a living from their music. They work really hard but just can’t make a viable income.”
Finch’s plan to counteract that dead end is to be as versatile a musician as she can.
“A lot of people stick with OK jobs and participate in artistic pursuits when they’re not working,” she says. “But I can’t help myself, I think creatively all the time and want that to be the focus of my life.”
To that end Finch is experimenting more with complete vocal compositions, as well as the realistic percussion sounds she can make with her mouth and voice.
But her biggest project is to make a gallery of her life work available on her website. This will include information about Finch’s involvement in the Ms. Adventures, Norbury & Finch, Madame JoJo’s Cabaret, opening for Rita MacNeil, various CDs and other musical accomplishments.
But she admits that moving all the time can make it difficult to be creative. “It seems that, to some degree, my my gypsy spirit wants to be grounded.”
As Finch struggles to get rid of stuff and live simply she feels drawn to the life of adventure she knows is waiting for her.
“I’m moving towards my goal of being a full time recording artist,” she says. “With no house to take care of or rent to pay, I hope I’ll be able to fully submerge myself in my work and life as a musician.”
Finch will perform at the Comox Valley Farmer’s Market in downtown Courtenay on Jan. 7. Look for updates on her life transition at www.joannafinch.ca.