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  • Writer's pictureJoe Dolman

Off Record Club.

I’ve just spent the last 45 minutes staring at my laptop, typing half a sentence only to delete it again.

Looking for a place to start can be tricky because in reality, whether I’m talking to you here or in fact anywhere I don’t feel that we’re ever just beginning a conversation anymore; but rather picking up where we left off. I’m grateful that it feels that way (and hopefully is that way for you too) because I often think about how there is so many people talking in the world (honestly sometimes it makes me want to stay quiet so I’m not just needlessly shouting over anyone else) and I feel so lucky to be heard at all, let alone listened to.

Further still, listened to so much that I feel like we’re always in touch regardless of how effectively I’ve been communicating - I know I can go in and out of contact from time to time when I’m wrapped up in different projects or having trouble with my health (which feels like it’s been more than ever this year) but you constantly showing up for me and encouraging/supporting me in everything I do has not, does not & will not ever go unnoticed or unappreciated with me. So thank you for being here in this small corner of the internet that we share together, I truly appreciate it more than I’ll ever be able to express. I’m always trying my best to communicate with you, I love sharing with you and hearing how you are too.

Today marks 12 months of me being on Patreon. TWELVE.



“where on earth has all that time gone?” was honestly my first thought. Without looking back, part of me does feel very aware that the world still hasn’t opened up again fully just yet - and at the time of starting Patreon I had really naive dreams that I’d be out touring again by late summer/autumn 2020, with a great big party at the church at Christmas.

As I said, naive but if you don’t have hope, ay?

I think because I was looking forward to all those things and they didn’t happen because of the pandemic, I felt disappointed. Not really for any personal loss, honestly just more disappointed that I didn’t get to do some of the things that I love, with people I love.

I felt a lot of guilt because of so many cancellations.

Even though it was out of my hands, I felt like I was taking opportunity away from the band/crew/producers/photographers etc. that I was set to be working with and couldn’t help but feel like I’d let people down. Nobody made me feel guilty of course, but I just love being part of a bigger team and making things I’m proud of with people I love and who make what I do better - and I was sad that a bunch of it had to be put on pause.

However, with every door that closes another opens - right?!

The idea of creating & sharing new music and content made me instantly excited, and the idea of putting out regular/consistent work was a challenge I felt up for. Looking back over the last 12 months, one of many things I thank Patreon for is pushing me to make more music for my solo project. In the beginning in my head I was thinking

I write songs every week, I’ll have plenty of tracks to use on Patreon that I’d love to share”

But in reality, I noticed that tonnes of the tunes I write were for other artists and they weren’t my stories to share. Sure, writing for others is a heavy element which shapes who I am as a songwriter/artist there is no denying that; however I realised I was spending a lot of time helping other artists work out what they wanted to say in their music, and how they wanted to say it. I really enjoy doing that as it really doesn’t have to be about me for me to care. I am passionate about making honest music, no matter who’s perspective we are sharing.

But this realisation pushed me to make more time for myself: for my own artist project, for my own ideas.

Having your support here on Patreon…knowing you want to listen to my songs and support my ideas gave me confidence to make time. Truthfully, I’ve been working on stopping feeling guilty for prioritising my own music and not instantly downplaying everything I do, and the results of that are slowly making me feel more confident as an artist; and that I should give myself a chance.

I’m usually pretty quick to count myself out as an artist. Not that I’ve always showed it, but I have struggled when it comes to believing in myself or taking myself seriously - there’s something so daunting to me about going on record and committing songs/ideas/opinions/thoughts/dreams to tape… as though one day in the future somebody is going to come along and say to me something like:

“do you really think that was worth it?”

“why would anyone want to hear what you have to say?”

It sounds stupid when I say it out loud (or in this case type it) but I feel that I have these thoughts because I am so aware of how many AMAZING artists there are in the world, it’s really difficult to me to convince myself that I’m worthy of taking up any of your time or attention, when there are millions of others out there who are worthy of the love & support you give me.

What I’m trying to say is thank you.

Despite all that’s been happening in the world and in your life, this last year I’ve felt more supported than ever and you are totally to thank for that. I’ve written some of the best songs I’ve ever written, made some of the best records I’ve ever made, learnt so much and you’ve given me a safe haven to do that in. I feel completely and utterly grateful to you for that. This space that we’re in here behind the scenes, off record and out of the spotlight: is the space that you have created for me, that allows me to be vulnerable, try new things, experiment and inevitably make more of what I love and hopefully, what you love to.

I’ve been wanting to coin a name for my Patreon (and really for this community we have) for a while as I want my Patreon to be something we can all refer to by name as something we are a part of: I decided on Off Record Club, and I hope you like it as much as I do. I chose it because although we’re “off record” and behind the scenes, I love all the songs I share with here and care about all the content as much as anything else I do that is “on record” but wanted to identify that this Patreon is all about the exploration, discovery and learning that goes on for me out of the spotlight, which is a vital part of shaping the music I make that does eventually go out into the big bad world.

A vital part: that you support and again I cannot thank you enough.

I’m heading into year 2 of being a Patreon creator feeling more inspired than ever, I have so many ideas that I think could be great and I cannot wait to share it all with you. Thank you for being here, for your patience and for your incredible kindness.

Here’s to the next 12 months!

All my love,

Joe x

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