Hi, everybody. This has been an amazing summer…truly amazing. A friend of mine and I were talking about the life of a musician these days and he said someone told him that “you can’t make money doing music anymore…but you can make a living.” That is right on the money for me right now, and I’m pretty happily emotional about it. Also, this is being amplified by the wonderful music of The Brothers Landreth. I recommend listening to this second link throughout reading this post for full emotional effect.
I’ll say that it’s nothing like I ever imagined it to be. I think every kid that decides they want to pursue music dreams about playing on a stage in front of hundreds of thousands of people every single day and writing the best music of all time, receiving endless accolades. The honest reality is there are very few people that get to that level of lifestyle, and in one way or another, they are miserable in it. They are missing out on family and friends to go out on the road all the time. They always have to perform at their best for every night they perform, more often than not playing music that they didn’t write and/or that they don’t even personally enjoy. If you stop, even for a minute, everyone disappears…because you were just another Lady Gaga or John Mayer in a long line of artists propped up by record labels that felt you were “in season” or “radio-worthy” until someone one else like Sia or Ed Sheeran, respectively, came along to take your spot instead. Hans Zimmer sums it up probably the best I’ve heard the reality of a musician’s life: “It’s a terrible career move. There are so few opportunities and most of the time, it’s not gonna work out, or your are going to be starving, or chucked out of your flat…”
But here’s the kicker in his next few sentences, and where I’m at. “…and the only reason to do it is because if you don’t write (do) music, you would die…there is no Plan B…we got through it because we failed a lot of the time…you have to fight for each note.” These last few months, I really do feel as if I’m fighting for every single note I’m playing in pursuing this career. I have days where it’s stacked full of performances and I’m practicing all week for them and then I give everything I’ve got on that stage when the time comes…and then there’s a week or two where nothing is happening. I wonder if there’s more I can be doing or people I should be talking to. I’m constantly thinking of what else I can perfect, other techniques I can learn, new effects and sounds to create for a record or saving them for future use should the need arise for a crazy, fuzzed out violin or a 20 second loop of a single held note. I also worry a fair amount about money and saving for the future and if there’s enough in this business of mine to financially be stable for a family someday.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world, though. I don’t play to hundreds of thousands of people a day, but I play to a couple hundred sometimes, and that’s worth celebrating. I don’t write the best music in the world, but at least one person tells me how important a song was to them at every show of my own music, and that is enough to remind me that this is what I was made to do; this is my voice. I’m not swimming in cash, but my rent and food are getting paid every month by music alone, and that is pretty amazing. If I can play a few notes on my violin and it inspires, comforts and encourages others, then why wouldn’t I pursue that with all I’ve got? In all of that, I find life, love, refuge, and purpose. Hans again says it best: “When we have the highest skyscrapers and we’ve built the fastest machines, there’s still going to be room for somebody to tell you a story or somebody to write you a piece of music…”
Anything really beyond this point is just icing on the cake, because if this is the rest of my life, I’m pretty happy with that. In fact, more happy than I’ve ever been in my entire life. So, the journey is a little harder than I thought…that’s okay! Because at the end of the day, it’s about the journey itself. What we are doing, who we’ve surrounded ourselves with, and how we feel. I’m not making money doing music…but I am making a living, and I’ll keep on living it as long as there’s breath within me.
Thanks, all. More shows will come soon, I promise. Also, there are some amazing things behind the scenes happening right now, and I will reveal them in due time.
Until then. DGS