Serenity in The Journey

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

The Art of Being Lonely

Hello, everyone! Told ya I’d be more frequent! Although, to be fair, once a month is still pretty slow going these days.

It’s been several weeks without a job now. Thankfully, and humbly, I have been able to make ends meet just by playing music alone. Really goes to show ya how taking a leap of faith is sometimes all you need to start living into your potential. However, it is far from easy. There is a lot of self-doubt I have to fight every day. I have quite a lot of battles ahead of me yet in finding out how to exist in this life and to do it well. One of these battles is loneliness, which has plagued me for a long time. I figured I would share a little bit of that with you, if that’s all right. If not, feel free to get back to your Facebook inspirational posts, your Snapchat comedy feeds, and your Instagram “perfect vacation/life” photos.

A lot of my loneliness comes from my introverted nature. Any crowd bigger than six, and I feel lost…maybe that’s an exaggeration. I feel like in that large of a group (a group of friends, mind you. I do pretty well at shows and with crowds), everyone’s voice & opinion should be heard and represented, and so I keep my mouth shut and listen. The only one whose voice isn’t represented then is mine. I also am a huge empath. When I am with people, I feel their emotions and what they are going through, whether or not they vocally acknowledge these things. In a lot of ways, it is a great gift; It helps me understand their situation, gives me insight on how to effectively be with them during that time…it’s actually one of the main inspirations for my music and how I write, by feeling the emotions and energy around me and creating music from it. It’s also why it’s so hard for me to write on my own, as all I have to go on are my own emotions (and it’s hard to decipher those). I also end up taking on others’ emotions as my own, and differentiating them from what I am feeling is extremely difficult at times.

On a more physical level, it’s been 6 years since I moved from Illinois to Minnesota. I’m away from my family, which is a constant hardship for me (which is why I call my mom every couple days or so. Sorry Mom! Love you, though). It’s also really hard when you are doing life on your own. This last year, I chose to move into a place by myself. It’s been really wonderful in a lot of ways; going home to a house filled with introvert energy, feeling a little more adult. However, it also makes it so much easier to be by myself and to feel like “no one wants to hang out with me, so I’ll just be by myself until someone calls”. Add in that physical touch and quality time are tied as my top love language (if you are curious about what yours is, take the test here!), and the fact that most of my friends are all married…you get a constant feeling of being alone.

Now, rationally, I know I’m not alone; I know I can go visit my family, which I do every summer and winter I know my friends care about me a whole bunch. I know that people enjoy my company, and that my opinion matters. However, that’s the thing with loneliness…or maybe, that’s the thing with being depressed: the rational makes sense, yet you choose the senseless because it FEELS more real. Feelings are our best strength as humans, yet, are our biggest weakness as well. Feelings are beautiful and wonderful (love, happiness, joy) but are also terrible and cruel (sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration, jealousy, etc). Notice how I listed more terrible feelings than sad. I know I can be happy, and I know that with all the wonderful friends in my life, my family, pursuing music as my passion and career, I SHOULD be happy. But I’m not, because I let those other feelings control my thoughts. Sometimes, you have to be lonely or angry. That’s just a part of being human, and it’s important to embrace these feelings. It’s when they control you that it becomes ugly and twisted. And truly, all of those ugly emotions stem from one evil: fear. “I’m afraid of being alone”. Loneliness. “I’m afraid of not being good enough”. Frustration. “I’m afraid I’m not happy with where I’m at.” Jealousy. See the pattern?

This feeling of loneliness isn’t an overnight fix. It’s going to take me awhile, much like my recent career choice to become purely freelance with music. I know that at the end of it though, if I just stick to it every day, I’ll be able to control this feeling. Hopefully, I can find a way to write music about it even (do you ever wonder what loneliness sounds like? I feel like it’s an emotion music hasn’t been able to tell well…yet). For now, I sit here writing this a little lonely…and maybe for now that’s a good thing…because tomorrow, I’m going to call my mom. I’m going to play music and work my butt off on an old classical etude, maybe start writing something without another’s emotions.  I’m going to call my friends and see how they are doing, maybe see if they’d want to come over. It’s not an ideal state of being, but maybe it’s my state of being…and maybe it can be a good thing.

Anyway, those are my thoughts at the moment. I hope you enjoyed reading about them. If you want, you can listen to the new album I put out a couple months ago and feel some of what I’m talking about through that by clicking this link. It’s amazing how I started recording this album two years ago, and it feels like I’m still living in it’s story. If you want another’s perspective on anxiety/depression/loneliness, Patrick Donnelly at the StarTribune wrote a wonderful piece about his struggles just the other day, and you can read it here.

I’ll try to be a little more musical in the next post (hopefully going to start posting some more videos on Instagram). Until then, friends, take care of yourselves…and that really is the least of it.

DGS

Organized Chaos / Album Pre-Order

SINGLE. OUT. NOW. FIND. BY. CLICKING. THIS. LINK.

Oh my goodness, people. Excited to be sharing this with you finally. First song off the new record, out RIGHT NOW for your listening pleasure on all internet facets (Spotify, ITunes, etc.). I hope you’ll give it a listen and let me know what you think!! Friends and family I shared it with before this release loved that it felt like a perfect pairing of traditional sounding violin with my modern, electronic sound, saying it was their favorite on the album (which was a surprise to me, as I originally wasn’t expecting much from this song when I first wrote it. Shows how things change!)

Also, the album is available for pre-order starting now! You can click here, or you can click the banner on the side, and either will bring you to VOICE. Mitch (my friend and founder of the company) started this company to find a way to build a better world through the marketplace, giving 7% of ALL purchases on the site to a local charity in Minnesota. You even get to choose the local charity you are giving your money too! AND you get some amazing products!! I’m so happy to say that we are mutually partnering with each other to release the record, and they are doing an exclusive pre-order of the physical album right on their website. You’ll also get all THREE singles I’ll be releasing in the next month or two before the full album release when you pre-order, before the main media outlets even have them! It’s a win-win for you, I’d say. 🙂

That’s all for today! I hope this song gets stuck in your heads all day, and that you share it with those you care about (and dance with it! DANCE!). Don’t forget, we are playing a release show (event details listed on the website banner and in the shows tab) and it’d be great to see you there to help me celebrate the record when it officially comes out!

Sincerely,

DGS

 

 

Here I Remain

Hello, everyone. Thank you for being so patient with all my stuff. I gotta be honest, I don’t like posting about random stuff. I want my posts to be honest, to mean something, to be from the heart, and to be something that you all can enjoy reading. I’m not a “take a look at my food” kinda guy (most of the time…it’s gotta be REALLY good), or someone who wants to harp on you for getting more likes from your friends or whatever. I just want you to feel like when I make a post, that you are getting something from it.

IMG_2694

And I’m happy to say, I have great news!! The new album, which is officially called ‘Here I Remain’ is completed!!! I’m so excited, I can’t hold it in anymore. We are planning on a release in November. Why so far away? Because we want to take this record to the next level still. We will be sending it all over the U.S. to my favorite radio stations, booking agencies, and news outlets to see if we can’t make this the biggest release we can. As soon as I have clearance to show you a single, I’ll make sure you guys are the first to hear about it.

As for shows, now that this is all over, I’m so excited to say that I want to be playing out more again. We are starting by playing a gig this Saturday, the 16th at the Maple Grove Art Festival from 11:30am to 2:00pm if you are around that area or just want to hang out with us for awhile! Then, we are performing at McNally Smith for their Artist & Industry class next Friday, the 22nd. These are just the first of many shows to come. Of course, the most important will be the Release Show, and as soon as I know where and when, you’ll be the first to know!

All right, that is what I have for you at the moment. If I can, I’m hoping to have another cover song up by the end of the week. I’ve been working really hard on this one, so hopefully you guys like it! Let’s just say, it’s better than a tall, but not as good as a venti.

I love you all, seriously. As we continue to release this record, I’ll be able to explain more of this journey and why it’s been so hard, and yet why it’s been more worth it than anything else I’ve done. To great things ahead.

DGS

Video-a-Week #3: Violin Demo

Hey, everyone! This week, I decided to show you my violin! my lovely London5 model violin from Acoustic Electric Strings. It’s a five-string acoustic electric violin, so I can play violin and viola on one instrument! The pickup is designed by Gary Bartig, the founder and maker of Acoustic Electric Strings, and it’s one of the best in the market of classical stringed instruments at the moment. I’ve tried so many different systems, and his is, by far, the best one out there. Anyway, this video is just about how I get it to sound amazing through a P.A. system for playing with a band, recording for a song, or just even doing my basic solo shows with my pedals. I hope you all enjoy, even if it is a little nerdy this week!

DGS

Video Week 2 – Woodridge Youth Commercial

Hey everyone! This is a commercial I did for my workplace (not video, just the music). I know there’s no violin in this, but writing music for commercials, trailers, and movies is something I’ve always wanted to do as well as writing my own music. So, I figured if this is a part of me I enjoy, you should experience it too! This is part of my weekly video posts I’m going to do this year, so I hope you’ll keep checking back each week to see what else I’m working on! Until next time!

DGS