The Artist vs. Real Life: Stef Silva

An aspiring singer-songwriter talks about managing expectations from others - and herself

Note from Allen: As I talk to artists in our community about the struggles they face, one of the issues that constantly comes up is the tension between our public and private lives. For many of us, promoting our careers takes just as much time as producing new content.  Building a brand can become a tiresome and frustrating part of being an artist, even if we have help from a management or publishing team.  Still, unless we share our careers and ourselves with our audiences, our work will likely go unnoticed and unheard.

One artist who understands this dilemma is singer-songwriter Stef Silva.  I first connected with Stef at a South Florida music showcase last year. Her stage presence was magnetic, and I immediately approached her to introduce myself and the God and Gigs project. It was no surprise to learn that along with producing her original music, she was also active in leading worship at her church. 

Stef shared the following caption earlier this year on her Instagram feed. In it, she captures the tension between our public image as fulfilled artists and the not-so-perfect reality of our private lives. I asked her permission to share it as a guest post and she graciously agreed.  I look forward to sharing more of her story in a series of interviews with faith-centered artists who will discuss their real-life experiences. Here’s her post:

I’ve been delaying uploading any pictures to any of my social media for the new year. And I can’t say it’s been easy. Everyone’s been putting up pictures of the “new selves” and how this year is gonna be different from all the other ones.

And honestly it feels like a rat race.

Of course, as an aspiring singer/songwriter, I feel the pressure of the rat race all the time. It’s never as easy as you want it to be. It’s never just about “making great music.” Millions of details are in place before an IG post goes up on your feed. And all the noise around you makes it a million times harder to preserve your creativity. I work hard as a wife, mom, sister, believer, singer, songwriter, etc. and still feel like I haven’t done enough. I never give myself time to process the season I’m in, and I come down hard on myself a lot because the standards I have for myself are so high.

But this time, I sat back and brought in the new year real low key. I moved my house around. Hung stuff up on my wall. Did dishes more times than I can count. Watched The Incredibles with my son more times than I’m willing to admit. Spoke with my husband like an adult instead of a parent. Stayed up. Did nothing for long periods of time. Hated myself for it. Worked on new songs. Allowed myself to dream. Told myself it was okay to believe in myself. Told myself it was okay to fail.

Today, I saw my boys outside. And as I wondered why my son looked like a mix matched-poorly dressed-minion, I begged God to help me get this right. Life. Marriage. Parenting. Succeeding. Failing. That’s inconvenient to many but I don’t want my son to remember me by how many songs I wrote. And I don’t want my husband to feel like he’s not as exciting to me as putting a song together. I’m 28 and I’m still figuring things out.

So here’s to being present, learning, vulnerability, working hard, and going against the current.

Happy late new year, everybody.

 

If you’d like to be notified when Stef’s feature interview is published, subscribe to our newsletter, For more information on her music, visit her page at Stefsilva.bandcamp.com.

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