If you follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or just generally follow me around, you'll have seen my news over the last few weeks. Ironically, it's rendered me lost for words, so it's taken me this long to form a coherent sentence about it, let alone address it on the blog.
8th April 2015, I received an email from Metal Hammer asking me to write for them. The next day, I was conducting my first interview for them with New Zealand band Like A Storm.
The hours in between consisted of sheer panic, frantic research and all-out disbelief. I checked the email over and over, Googled the email address, read it out loud, read it to my parents and caught my breath more times than I can remember.
This can't be real, surely? Is someone playing a cruel prank on me? My ex must have a real twisted sense of humour.
I picked up the phone to Matt Brooks from the band and stuttered out "hi, it's Ali from Metal Hammer."
Did I really just say that? That sentence actually came out of my mouth, right? If this is some kind of daydream, wake me up fast.
The next week, I was interviewing Danny Worsnop for a feature on his love of Aerosmith.
I've made no secret about my admiration of the 'Snop, so you can imagine how well that went in my mind.
Danny fucking Worsnop. I can't believe this is happening.
Listening back to the recording, it turns out I didn't slip in the odd marriage proposal... unfortunately.
Regardless, I was convinced this whole experience could be an elaborate prank.
Jeremy Beadle's going to jump out from behind the sofa now, isn't he?
It was only until the next issue was published that it all became frighteningly real.
I can't begin to describe the feeling of seeing my name in print in a globally renowned magazine.
People around the world are reading this right now. Seeing my name, seeing my work, seeing what I created.
"Like A Storm are rewriting metal's rulebook like never before..." Huge honor to be featured in @MetalHammer! M. pic.twitter.com/CHfin944nI— LIKE A STORM (@RealLikeAStorm) May 26, 2015
Just shy of 8 months ago, I started taking music journalism seriously by writing for Already Heard. 4 months ago, I had my first interview. Less than a year after I chose this as my career, I'm a fully-fledged published writer for the most amazing magazine.
I have so many people to thank for this. From Sean, my editor at Already Heard, to Merl who recommended me. Most importantly, to my best friend Troy, who got me into metal in the first place all those years ago.
To all of you that have supported me, retweeted, reblogged, liked, shared, commented, favourited... I love you. This would never have been possible without every single one of you keeping me going.
Time for bigger, better, brighter things.