It amazes me, that after fourteen years of calling myself a professional musician, I'm still lucky enough to do this for a living. More importantly, after all that time I still love what I do. I've definitely burned the wick at both ends plenty of times through my journey, but I haven't burned out. That got me thinking as to why I'm still doing what it is I do? Why, when its so easy to get frustrated, or more specifically for me, sometimes it can feel helpless. Being a musician, and relying on your income as a musician, can be precarious at times, and down right stressful. A friend recently wrote a face book post about his self proclaimed addiction to being a musician, and how it's cost him relationships, financial hardship and more. I can relate on some level. It definitely manifests itself as a need.
The other side of the coin is that being a musician is life giving, life altering and a spiritually rich path, every day. I've met my closest friends doing what I do, I met my wife, by doing what I do. I've had more adventures with my best friends in the last ten years alone than most people get in a life time. Being a musician led my wife and I to move to Nashville, which has brought immeasurable gifts, both personally and professionally. A whole new set of friends and relationships to build and nurture. I've been lucky enough to share in the experience of making records with close friends, which brings us inevitably closer as friends, as we dig deep together.
Thats the side of the coin I choose to look at everyday. And thats why I do what I do.
I guess, for me, when I boil it down, music is really what I need to do. Yes, it's a passion, but it goes a little beyond that, it is what I was put on this planet to do, and the older I get, the more certain of that I am. When I was twenty two, I wanted to be in a band that was world famous, and successful beyond my imagination… like cover of Rolling Stones famous. Of course, I loved music and playing guitar then as I do today, but I had big aspirations. Now, my aspirations are a bit different, but just as big in their own ways. Gone is the desire for the RS cover, replaced with the desire to get to know all the players, producers and artists I can. People that have been on the cover of RS, and people who have not. The more I do this, the more I realize its about these experiences that I collect along the way. It's these experiences that make me rich, "famous", a better producer, a better writer and so on.
If you are pondering whether or not to follow your musical talents and turn them into a career, let me be the first to tell you that it is 100% possible to make a living playing, writing and recording music. Let me also tell you, you better feel the need to pursue it from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head. In the age of "fair game" internet, and singing TV Show idolatries, more people than ever before feel they are worthy to pursue music as a profession, and maybe they all do, but it takes a particular kind of musician to maintain, and see the bigger picture through all the (temporary) set backs and frustrations. Being self employed can be tough, especially for musicians, who dare to make a living out of their art. But I'm here to say, if it is what you are called to do, if it is what you were put on this planet to do, be brave and do it. You can do it.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. Thanks for a great year Nashville! Thanks to all of you for taking time out of your busy lives to read this blog. There are a ton of things to look forward to in 2015, and I can't wait to share them with you all.