by Kaleb Hikele
The years 2015 to 2017 were most probably the most crucial building block along my musical path. I’ve spent the two years struggling with a degenerative tendon disease leading to a derailing chronic wrist injury.
At first, I was misdiagnosed, and it took six months to understand why my wrists were escalating in pain. Since March 2015 I have routinely been a patient of several clinics, in and out of several hospitals, X-ray/Ultrasound/MRI scanning beds, frequented medical specialists and doctors offices around the city with minimal results.
It still affects me every day now. But I have new music released since and I’m moving on!
Listen to the album while reading the text.
Unexpected & Life Changing
In just a short and confusing time, I went from vigorously pushing my music career forward to being told by the doctor that I had to stop playing guitar and piano entirely for one month, which turned into three months with inconclusive results. It’s how unexpectedly it took over my day-to-day routine that haunts me: In 2015, I played 30 shows in two tours on the road across Canada, while releasing an album with weeks of a nonstop workload and a self-promotion machine in action. I was also producing a handful of records in my studio, running an indie record label single-handedly, bussing at a restaurant part-time, so ultimately I was working seven days a week for months on end.
By the Fall of 2015, I had to take three months off work by doctors orders to try to recover my worsening condition. I spent most of my time focusing on my own self-care on a day to day basis, now void of the usual creative studio work and ability to play my instruments.
Support from the Unison Benevolent Fund would cover my basic living expenses for the weeks that followed, after quitting the few jobs I had at the time that were bringing in the little income available. I was a frequent visitor to the Artists Health Centre in Toronto, a clinic with services available to patients who were creative, quite literally a place for starving artists!
Fight This Battle
Afterward it was difficult to find a job that allowed me to sustain the cost of living without further injuring and permanently harming my physical health, so I have fallen behind ever since just trying to make ends meet. It’s been even more difficult to see my fuelling passion be put on the back-burner, something that I would never do on my own accord.
After years of small warning signs, sharp and constant pain in my left wrist, and then my right, flared up and hasn’t left me ever since. It’s been devastating to have only performed live so rare lately as The Sun Harmonic. The stage truly is where I feel most alive, most like myself, most useful in this world. However, I can still write and sing my songs with or without an instrument, I made the decision long ago to pursue the life of a songwriter and even in the face of hardship that will not change. I will fight this battle for the rest of my life but will never forget that this period was the most questionable stage where it all either ended in failure or pointed towards my future.
At the end of that period, it has been a dream come true, releasing Winter, my ongoing concept album that’s been eight years in the making, a candid side of me that I usually wouldn’t show 🙂 I’ve spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on this album, but at the end I needed a hand to bring it to life. Because of these unwelcome changes, the last thing I could afford to do was fund the release of this project on my own, like I have done with pride for dozens of my albums in the past.
That was the reason I launched a campaign to fundraise Winter. Due to all the amazing support, my injury couldn’t stop Winter from becoming a reality at the end of it’s long and turbulent eight-year process. I was able to make my dream come true by releasing it the way I always dreamed of: a double-CD, a complex box set full of rarities to tell my story, I was even pressing vinyl for the first time ever!
Moreover, I could also donate a portion of my proceeds from the campaign to the Unison Benevolent Fund in thanks for their support in my time of need.
The Show Must Go On
The show must go on! Although some of this is out of my control, the decision I can make is to continue creating music proudly. I’ve been trying to change the world with my songs since I was 13 and now that I’ve been battered and bruised I am simply determined to improve people’s lives with my music instead, even if it’s one at a time. Although my decline and diagnosis was terrifying it taught me I could face a heavy challenge and still overcome the odds against me. I feel victorious by releasing this album that I’ve happily worked on during every single winter season since 2010. I see my trials and tribulations as a part of the triumph of finally releasing Winter.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. As you can imagine, even writing this out is difficult for my condition and it’s something I struggle with every day. I’m compassionate for you who may have similar issues of your own as we all grow old. Whether or not your own burden is public or private, I encourage you to find inspiration in doing what you love most despite the odds against you. I was empowered by finishing and releasing this album, after wrestling with depression and the sheer nightmare of possibly having to give up on being a musician. In hindsight, it’s now defined who I am as a musician and I plan to write it into the fabric of my songs as I move forward, my pains and creative pursuits will become intertwined.
Sincerely, the new and improved Sun Harmonic.
The Sun Harmonic, Category: Artist, Singles: As I Go Away (Winter), Everything You’re Looking For (Winter), C Major Fermata (Winter), Rivers Will Rise (Winter), The Sun with Hearts Strings (Live), Top Tracks: Rivers Will Rise (Winter), C Major Fermata (Winter), Alive Again, Love (Like You Used To) – Live with Heart Strings, A Song For Her – Live with Heart Strings, Biography: The moniker of The Sun Harmonic belongs to Kaleb Hikele, an eclectic musician and genre bending Canadian songwriter., Monthly Listeners: 11, Where People Listen: Toronto, Markham, Brampton, Oshawa, Kitchener