Hello, I’m Alison. Welcome in this new chapter of Urban Soul. I’ve been away for a while because… life happened. Please take a seat and let me explain everything.
I’ve launched Urban Soul in 2010 and I’m firmly attached to it: it helped me getting my Communications degree (this blog was part of my thesis), I won the Best Belgian Entertainment Blog award in 2012 thanks to it but, most importantly, I also made friends along the way. One of them is Max. With my brother, he’s responsible for the previous version of Urban Soul. And a couple of years ago, we discussed together the possibility of changing the design, all over again. « Alison, Urban Soul is you, and only you, he told me. Your blog is personal and you should make this clear. » I looked for some inspiration here and there, he sent me a draft idea and then… life happened.
Fast forward to 2017. « New year, new me », they say. You should know that it’s never really been my motto. But January came on strong and hit me in the face with exciting encounters and opportunities that I wasn’t expecting so soon. I chose to embrace them nevertheless. If you’re a reader of my newsletter (R.I.P. – sorry about that), you might already know that I’ve been offered a music publicist position for the Belgian independent record label W!G Music, which I obviously accepted. I remember some of my loved ones being startled by the fact that I didn’t seem euphoric about the news. I was overjoyed though, trust me. But I was also petrified. I was scared because I knew a storm of changes was coming my way and novelty can be quite intimidating.
I tried to keep all those mixed feelings inside and soon the turmoil turned into an overwhelming wave crashing over me. Finding a new balance became my first world problem after working for the past 7 years as a freelancer, alone in the comfort of my bedroom which also served as an office. Of course, I was well aware that everything that was happening to me (dream job, hello!) was absolutely fantastic and that I didn’t get to complain like a spoiled kid (necessary disclaimer: being independent also means struggling with money, constantly hunting for new clients and chasing the current ones to get paid). But I’ve always aspired to make Beyoncé’s lyrics mine. « I’m a grown woman, I can do whatever I want ». I wanted to do it all. To kick ass at my new job, to spend quality time with the people I love, to take care of myself, to go after my other goals… and to continue blogging.
When it comes to Urban Soul, I went through different phases. In the beginning, I tried very hard to respect my « 3 weekly posts » rule. Then I slowly started losing my rhythm and beat myself up for not writing regularly, which was followed by a stage where I was kinder to myself and stopped pressuring me to provide. Summer arrived and I came to realize that maybe the problem wasn’t that I couldn’t make time for it but rather that I didn’t enjoy it anymore. And when love disappears, you gotta stop lying to yourself and learn to let go.
I was on holidays in Malta, last week. Time off and abroad is always synonymous of me sitting with my thoughts for a bit, reflecting. I came to the conclusion that yes, I still love music, yes I still love to write. I just don’t like how I’m writing anymore. So today, Saturday 29th of July 2017, I went looking for a solution which would include a new outfit for Urban Soul, but not only. Still obsessing over the fact that it could be a case of finding balance, I watched several videos on YouTube sharing tips to juggle like a pro and suggesting that I should identify when I have big chunks of free time during the week but that I should also make sure to switch off and relax after 8-9PM on a work day. Cue my first epiphany: I need to write in English. Now, don’t be mistaken: I’m certainly not mastering Shakespeare’s language but I do spend 80% of my week thinking and speaking in English, to the point where it would probably be easier for me to blog in it too. Which means no more quotes and press releases to translate, but also more reach as most of my followers on social media are not even French-speaking.
I still had to tackle my lack of inspiration and motivation. Those YouTubers kept on repeating « Passion is key » and I had to admit that the flame was gone. I wrote many of my last posts feeling « forced » to do so, plainly typing basic information without putting my heart into it. So Urban Soul 3.0 will be personal, my friends. Let me put my face and my name all over it (well, my face is a bit shy so mostly my name)! I’ll keep on sharing with you new songs and artists but I also want to tell you about my work as a music publicist, about my travels, about books, movies, conversations that make me think, and even about tunes that are not « urban » at all sometimes!
For a while, I’ve felt trapped and restricted by the name of this blog, when the answer was right there, just in front of me: I need to focus on the soul. The heart. Don’t worry, I’m not turning into a fashion/beauty blogger and I’m still an R&B lover. But I’m gonna put some life into it. And, hopefully, you’ll join me for the ride and will come back tomorrow for the first proper post of this version 3.0!