I really wanted to write another 'Christmas Blog', as I have always enjoyed writing it. It is also a good way to look back and forward. For those of you who remember my last Christmas blog, you know that I planned to work on other projects besides music and that it would be a calm year... This plan definitely failed. However, I spent some time on other stuff and it looks like some of it will be more explored - or even released - next year; I don't know yet...
Let's start with some musical aspects of the year. I worked hard on new material; however, as there were more live shows than planned, the latest album 'Rail Tracks' was still in the focus of this year's musical journey. It is a weird feeling... The more I talk about 'Rail Tracks', the more I feel how it has become a part of me - not only of me as an artist, but of me as a human being. I'm sure that the writing process of the album plays a big role, as it was written in form of a diary - and diaries of often private, aren't they? At the same time I feel that it is definitely time for something new; 'Rail Tracks' had its time and it will stay an important stop of the path I walk on. Nevertheless, I will take 'Rail Tracks' on the road for the very last time and I decided to do it the way I started it: Solo, by train (most of it). When I decided to do this tour, I promised to myself that every show will be unique - thus, it will be a good opportunity to play very old songs, brand new songs and songs by other artists that accompanied me during the Rail Tracks era. I'm looking forward to see some of you on the road... There'll be shows in Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Wales and England. Back to the past now: There were many highlights that will make 2014 a year to remember. Various festivals, such as the SummerDays Festival in Arbon or Bischofszell were great experiences. I mentioned it last year I guess, but I feel that it is important to write it again: I am very fortunate to have fantastic people around me - on and off stage. The members of 'The Lighthouse Project' are not only great musicians, but also great friends. We also worked with several sound and light engineers, without whom the shows would not be possible. Life can be surprising sometimes. In 2013, I met some interesting people who involved me in a brainstorm think tank about technology. It hasn't much to do with music; but I believe that no matter what you do, everything has an influence on everything. There are many - rather futuristic - projects that we're discussing and I'm excited about some first results next year.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege to hear an inspiring speech by Right Livelihood Award winner Asma Jahangir. She's a lawyer and human rights activist from Pakistan. Of course, everyone knows about the suppression of women that is still common in many countries. Not only the suppression of women, but also the suppression of people with a different belief, a different sexuality or a different ethnic background. It might sound naive, but I think that there is only one way to make the world a better place: Education. However, in my opinion, it's wrong to educate the world with the ideologies of the western world. I think that we should not educate, but 'educate to educate'. I mean, Europe tried to 'educate' other countries, and failed miserably. This is one of the topics that interests me a lot and I'm looking forward to having some interesting discussions about that next year. How can we help without slipping into the role of a "missionary"? Even though it is said that 'money rules the world', I think that donating money won't change much, as often it won't even reach those people who are in need of it. Sometimes, when reading the news, it is hard to stay positive about the state of the world. However, there must be a way to make the world a better place. This is our generation. This is our time. This is our responsibilty and our chance to start destroying the mountain of hatred, fear and silence previous generations have built.
After talking about this topic, it is hard to find a transition back to Christmas. But Christmas should not be just about joy and happiness, it should also be a time to think about those people who have no reason to be happy; who are spending Christmas alone. These thoughts are not intended to ruin your Christmas mood.
I wish you all a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2015.