I turned 40!

Today is my 40th birthday.
The thing is, I didn’t want to tell anyone I was turning 40. It’s partly because people often still think I’m 25 and I didn’t want to break the illusion. But mostly it’s because, although I’ve been working hard at my creative pursuits for many years, I didn’t feel like I’d really achieved anything. 
I don’t own a house. My car, though steadfast, is old. I pour everything into my art.
But in the months leading up to my birthday, a few things happened.

I received an arts grant to help me release an album I’d produced and recorded in 4 countries, involving 11 studios and a few solid years of hard and persistent work.
I signed a worldwide distribution deal with MGM.
I produced my first music video (you can watch it here). 
I released a single and my music video premiered on prominent music magazine site Scenestr.
I received a pile of press coverage, thanks to my publicist at DB Publicity, including sitting down for my first Rolling-Stone-style article. (You can read it here).
I launched my debut studio album to a full house, received a standing ovation and finally got to use the autograph I’d been messing around with since I was a kid. (You can order the album, physical, digital or streaming here.)
I simultaneously launched my independent label, Blue Wolf Records.
I’m already getting radio play in Australia and Europe and my CD’s are on their way to shops in Ireland.
The day before my album launch I was nominated for two photography awards. 
The day after my album launch I received an international screenwriting award from ScreenCraft in LA.
I’m about to complete a three month mentor programme with Women in Film & Television.
And I am preparing, finally, to direct.

Yeah. You can bet I’m turning 40 and I’m not afraid of it anymore. And it’s not even because of this list of recent achievements. 
It’s because I’m settling into myself and owning who I am. I’m writing from experience, I’m clear about what I stand for and what I want to protect. I have a small but close, loving family. I have old friends I can trust and a few new ones. I know who I am.
I’m a sister, I’m a daughter, I’m the Director of a record label. I’m a writer, I’m a singer, I’m a loyal friend. I’m not afraid to stand up and I know when I need to sit down.
In short, I think I got this. 
Well, I’m getting this. I’m excited about where this path will take me next and I want to thank you for being a part of it.

Last night I saw some of my photographs on exhibition for the first time and I was presented with my first photography award. Tonight I get to bask in the sublime beauty of an intimate, private house concert with Mick Flannery. My present to myself. Tomorrow, lunch with friends I’ve known for 20 years. I’m so grateful for all of it.
Many years ago when I lived in Sydney, I had a bass player called Steve Bardell. When we met he’d just returned from Cuba and he gave me a Habana cigar. I told him I’d smoke it when I released my first album. This damn fine, sweet smelling thing has been wrapped up for too long. But now, my friends, now is the time.
Keep her lit.
With love and gratitude for your continued support,
Aminah xx