From death bed to the stage and beyond. Literally..
It was August of 2008 and as my mind starting to come back round I was immediately thinking "what does this mean?".
It was my Dad's birthday that day and his surprise present was his eldest son (me) having a pacemaker inserted after going into complete heart block from a heart attack at 17 years old.
When you have a near death experience your brain has an awesome way of showing you everything that you've missed out on.
All I wanted was my guitar, I'd not written many songs before now, well not seriously anyway. I was more for learning other people's songs and playing them to others for their entertainment, plus at 17 I didn't really have much to say. Until now of course...
So after 7 weeks of not being able to raise my arm and recovering from having this battery put in my chest I picked up my guitar for the first time. I've never felt so emotional holding the instrument in my hands. I knew that this was the answer, I didn't know what was going to come of it, but I knew this was truly me.
After my first EP release 'Wasting Time', which was about a year or so after my operation, I started getting out and playing shows. My love for music grew more and more every second, and people would approach me and say "dude that song hit me deep, where did it come from? Thank you!". Them Thank you's meant the world to me. I finally felt a sense of having purpose in the world.
I found artists such as John Mayer with songs such as 'War Of My Life' and 'Bigger Than My Body' which drove me to a path of firstly noticing I was not alone but also how much of an impact you could have on someone through music.
But I was still afraid to speak out about this underlying anxiety and hourly panic attacks I was having about my health, thinking every twitch in my body meant I was going to die. Even when performing on stage for people such as Noel Gallagher (my idol), The Queen and the Twilight Movie I was thinking in my head "This is amazing, oh I am going to die".
Fast forward to early 2017 and after having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, years of medication, a life changing Tony Robbins seminar and reaching #1 as an unsigned artist (even that made me anxious), I threw the med's in the bin, clenched my first, screamed YES! And half a year on I realise what a gift that day back in August 2008 was. I can now connect with people, I can support people and guide them through their suffering, not just by language but music too!
I hear artists such as Shawn Mendes singing out "There's nothing holding me back!" and Ed Sheeran writing lines like “Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, then it's not the end.”. Which reinforces the power I believe music has in this world.
So hear I am with a found purpose in my music, to give deep connection on all levels, whether its a love story, an inspirational story, motivation or giving a compelling future, I am hear, proud and doing it with such great love and respect for listeners that makes me feel full of joy. No medication or therapy needed!
But perhaps even more importantly than how I feel, it's YOU the listener that makes all this matter.
I look forward to many more lessons, connection and spreading of love. And I hope you are part of that journey.
If you'd like to hear the most recent milestone of that journey, click here to listen to my most recent album which charted at #1 as an unsigned artist. 'Dig To Locate'.
Thank you for being a listener and making it all matter,
Tom Bertram x