We had the good fortune of connecting with Kirsten Evans and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kirsten, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?

Work life balance becomes such a funny concept when you talk to creatives. Most people think that a work life balance consists of a 9-5 role in whichyou are, hopefully, okay with being in but aren’t too ecstatic about, and then you have the rest of your life. When you talk to creatives whose work is also their passion where does that line of ‘everything else’ begin? Is it when you finish your paid work but immediately move on to a practically identical passion project you work on for another 8 hours every night? Is it when you become so lost in the work for your clients that you end up just doing it for fun?

As my music career has progressed over the last 6 years I have gone from working 12 hours a day for myself and clients, to working as a score coordinator on big films for 22 hours a day consistently for weeks at a at its most extreme, to having what is pretty much a 9-5 with the option to expand this if I want to. What I have concluded is this… even if you are young (I was 23 when working 22 hours a day) you should never work so much that you become burnt out. Being stressed is fine, being tired after a late night is fine. These things are manageable. What is not manageable is becoming burnt out. No matter what opportunity you have in front of you, if you won’t be able to really even enjoy the opportunity let alone reap the benefits of said opportunity after you put your heart and souls into it then… what’s the point in doing it at all?

Ironically, all of the parts of my life that I used to sacrifice for my work like my physical well-being, having any friends at all and having a hobby are now the things that help me to work better and be more productive.  I end up day dreaming far less about what I am missing out on and simply get the work done in time to actually go and do those things. Do I work 22 hours a day? No. Will I again? Not unless I am deeply passionate about my own project and I only do it for one night only before the final deadline. Do I want to work that much again? This has to be the hardest no I have ever given. The best thing is is that even though I would work that much again for my passion I know that I won’t have to because I have made the decision not to. I will ensure I plan everything so I don’t need to, and while it’s not always possible to improve your productivity and just decide not to work as much, and things in your schedule may also change, what you can do is choose where to devote your time to what is important to you and learn to say no to projects that take just a little too much of your brain power. Working out what ‘too much’ is is something that you have to decide for yourself. But I can tell you that I have and I am doing better than I ever have before!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

I am a British composer of music for media now living and working in LA! I’ve been here for 2 months and have already received a promotion, a raise, been to a beautiful cabin next to the Big Bear lake, flown in a helicopter, been chosen to compose 2 short films, a podcast and have started a collaboration with the Spanish 3D visual artist Yomagick for my YouTube Channel Soothing Muisc.

I believe if you don’t know what you want to do in life, say yes to every opportunity you are offered until you work out what you enjoy doing and ,more importantly, what you don’t enjoy! This tactic, if done mindlessly, will end up in a lot of wasted time, effort and enthusiasm. So here is the approach I used when I was deciding what field of music I wanted to go into.

After deciding not to become an opera singer as I had initially trained to do, I made the snap decision to take on a composition degree. Thankfully this worked out for the best but it could have been a costly decision. I always enjoyed both singing and writing music, but enjoyed them both all the more when I could combine the two, so I knew composition was something I was interested in. This was decision number one – combine my passions. Before I made the decision, I had two things I liked doing and wasn’t sure which to pursue so I tried several projects out following a singers career path and after a worthwhile attempt, I decided it wasn’t for me. It turned out I liked composition and could see myself getting pretty good at it if I put all my energy into it. So that is what I did. I followed this path again not really knowing what was at the end. When opportunities came to compose for different things like plays, or films, or concerts, or installations I took them. Try everything more than once is my motto, so I tried each genre of composition several times to ensure I had accurately assessed what writing that type of music could be like, and only after this did I make any decisions.

I kept narrowing my field of specialism further and further until I ended up where I am today: a singing (but non-opera singing) remote session musician who often uses her voice to compose soundtracks for media, with a YouTube channel dedicated to relaxing sleep music that takes her across her new home in the US to film in beautiful locations for videos that will be released later in 2022, and creating digital art for said YouTube channel to accompany her current music.

On top of this I am a product developer at the LA based sample library company that is Cinesamples. My specific knowledge of coding (aka scripting) Kontakt instruments and my musical ear leading me to a new opportunity at the company that I said yes to after reaching another cross roads. In media music what do you focus on? It turns out I like focusing on YouTube, coding and scoring films! What a combination and what a place to get to do it all in!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

As someone new to the area I have loved seeing all of the classic sights – the Hollywood sign, Santa Monica Pier, all of the beauty in Malibu. So in an addition at the classic L.A. sights I plan on taking my friends to this great allergy friendly bakery near Hollywood in Larchmont – Erin Mckenna’s Bakery! If you thought you couldn’t eat out anywhere because of your allergies or intolerances think this no more because the doughnuts here are heavenly! (There is also a branch in Santa Monica.)

I want to show people some of the amazing sites close by to LA too. I would love to go to the Trona Pinnacles for the day and head home to order take out from the Thai restaurant Hoy-Ka, again near Hollywood!

Lastly I think a trip to In ’n’ Out is needed before we go to see one of those American drive in movies!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

Thomas Eggensberger is a brilliant composer. Original German, he is now based in LA and is about to launch his own sample library company. He has given me a lot of advice while I was transitioning between my different working schedules but the best advice I picked up was actually just from observing his work. He confidently says turns down projects that are not right for him and more projects still come in despite this… mind blown! It’s scary as a freelancer when you turn something down because it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that you will loose all of your clients when you begin saying no to people, as if this one decision will spread through your work like a plague. But what I have found is that when you say no for a genuine, thought out reason (which includes just not wanting to do something by the way) then people respect you more, NOT less. People appreciate your time more, not less. People see you as being MORE PROFESSIONAL, not less. If you don’t value your time why should anyone else?

https://www.t-e-music.com/

Website: https://kirstenevans.co.uk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kirstenhevans/

Youtube: https://youtube.com/c/SoothingMusicYTChannel

Other: My soothing Music YouTube channel Instagram is: https://www.instagram.com/soothingmusic.channel/ If you are stressed check out my music on my YouTube channel and follow me on Instagram to be part of the Deep Sleep Plan every week! See you in the comments!

Image Credits
Kirsten Mcternan

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