SET YOURSELF FREE
THE ART OF LEARNING WHAT YOU ARE NOT MAY HOLD THE KEY TO DISCOVERING WHAT YOU REALLY ARE
For this Sunshine Coast kid, raised in a family of musicians, the dream had always been about moving to Melbourne for the “hot-shot’’ career.
At the age of 27, he packed up his life and headed down south with his wife Heather. He thought he had finally made it. However, what he actually found was “a whole lot of things he’s not’’.
Gian Famularo is a popular local musician, known for his crowd-pleasing covers and moving originals.
Chances are you’ve seen at least one of his shows because the singer-songwriter performs everywhere, from as far north as Noosa to the southern tips of Caloundra. After a brief stint living in Melbourne for nine months, he recently returned to the humble sandy shores of the Sunshine Coast – a move which he said has made him “the happiest he’s ever been’’.
He’s found a new mindset, a profound sense of freedom and, most importantly, himself.
“That’s where Melbourne was really good. It was always this dream and then once I tried to make it real, I realised it wasn’t what I wanted,” Gian said.
“The biggest thing I learnt in Melbourne was a whole lot of things that I wasn’t.” Growing up, there was nothing Gian knew better than music.
Having two musicians as parents, his home was a tour bus.
He spent 12 years on the road, travelling Australia with his family.
“Mum and Dad used to record albums in their living room and us kids would just be walking around and singing,” Gian said.
“They had a profound experience with God and they just wanted to go and tell everybody. Dad worked in a refinery, so he quit. They bought a bus, they did it up, and we just went wherever Dad felt we were needed.
“We’d go to prisons, schools or even the street and just play music.”
Once shackled by the pressure of “always needing to do better’’ and feeling defined by his music, Gian now believes he’s discovered the secret to success.
“When I was young, I used to write songs because I wasn’t very good at talking. Unfortunately, it would leave me in pain or frustration because I couldn’t say what I wanted to say,” Gian said.
“In the last two years, I stopped writing songs because I thought I had written too many, and I really suffered for that.”
The competitive nature of Melbourne’s music industry proved to be one of Gian’s most significant challenges.
However, nothing was more crippling than the financial and family strain he experienced as a result of the relocation.
He found himself struggling through immense emotional turmoil without the outlet he had always relied on: his writing.
“(It was) the reality of what I had been doing hadn’t been very functional. I think it was really about trying to understand how I work as a person,” he said.
“It’s taken me this long to realise that music is almost like a crush in the sense that, without it, life isn’t as meaningful for me. It’s actually a gift.
“I’m an artist not because it makes you cool, but because it’s truly, and I’m not kidding, just very beneficial for me emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.
“When I’m not doing it, it probably causes me the most stress because I get caught in my head.”
At the end of last year, Gian was weathered, his wife was struggling to settle into city life and he knew something had to give.
“When you’re married, if they are unhappy, you’re unhappy,” Gian said.
“My wife hated Melbourne and for a whole lot of reasons I can really understand.”
Together, the couple decided to strip back their life. They wanted to return to the basics and the simple lifestyle they had once loved.
While the “dream of Melbourne’’ didn’t turn out as he planned, the entire experience released the binds that were once constricting his creative flow.
“Now I don’t have to focus on all the things I’m not. I can actually look at myself and say ‘OK, well I am this, and I am that’ and I’m stoked about that,” Gian said.
“It’s the biggest thing that’s affected the music because I’m not being influenced by any other musician.
“I’m literally just going and writing songs that I have fun making and it’s just enjoyable.
“Since having that attitude, honestly, gigs
are better, people’s responses are better, everything is better.”
Gian said he stepped away from the idea that music was all he could do. Instead, he treated it for what it really was – “an emotional outlet’’ – and immediately there was a fervent effect on the sound he was producing.
This new-found sense of self and associated emotional maturity has birthed a new realm of inspiration for Gian, who, for the first time in two years, has picked up his pen to start writing again.
“I think music is a manifestation of my character which is hard if you think about it,” he said. “Rather than just working on music, which is still hard, I always think, if I can progress as a person and become a better person, then the music will always get better.
“I needed to work on me. It took me a long time but I am comfortable with who I am now.”
Inspired to now progress his music organically, Gian is learning to approach his art from many different perspectives – as an audience member, as a musician and as a server of his lord.
However, this isn’t the only change on the horizon. After returning to the Coast, the family unit is stronger than ever and Gian and Heather are expecting a new edition to their family in April.
“I’ve started to see live music and support other people, incorporating practising every single day, writing every day and going to see live music. It creates a good culture in my own life,” he said.
“From here on in, it’s about doing things properly, taking my time and not necessarily being rash about things.
“I’m going to back myself and my music.” You can catch Gian this weekend, performing today at the Peregian Beach Hotel from 3-6pm and Cornerstone Pub and Kitchen from 9.30-11.30pm. Or catch him tomorrow in Caloundra at Kings Beach Bar from 5-8pm.
To find more of Gian’s shows follow him on Facebook at Facebook.com/officialgianmusic or Instagram @officialgianmusic. Listen to Gian’s music at: Spotify.com/officialgianmusic
THE BIGGEST THING I LEARNT IN MELBOURNE WAS A WHOLE LOT OF THINGS THAT I WASN’T.