As is the case for many pursuing long-held aspirations, I often take a bit of time to reflect on why I do what I do, and why I make music in the first place. Now, when I say making music, I mean it in two different ways: firstly, the songwriting and channeling experience through composition/lyrics/melody, and secondly, the fine alchemy of bringing that music to life on stage, and sharing that work with others. The reason for this reflection is simple: to remind myself of the core intention of my pursuit, and to remember who I was as a 14-year old when I first turned to singing, performing, and writing, and why.
When we first discover our life-long passions, there is a thrill, an excitement, and a joy that, at least for a while, makes little else matter. There is purity in the roots of our discovery. When I think back to that time, there was just such a unique, boundless emotion, a sense of escape from a somewhat isolated childhood. As I continue to move forward with my ongoing quest of art and craft, I'm now taking time to remember why I got involved in music in the first place. This initial spark that entranced me, and all the music of my childhood, is a powerful spirit that sustains most of us, not just musicians.
So much of music is a marathon, and something to be carried for long distances. Yes, there is that initial spark, but the artist attempts to sustain this, protected and sheltered from the wind, nestled deeply in the torch. For instance, there can be the words of discouragement from others, the thousands of hours spent to simply sound any good, the moving target of what success in music even is, and the technical tools that feed into this. Ours is a results society that wants to quantify achievement, musical or otherwise, in tangible markers of success. For as many shows as I have played, there has been far more time singing and practicing alone. As cliche as it sounds, doing it for the gift of music really has to be enough. I must also confess, that, to this day, I still have little clue how this will fold.
In the meantime, I have my songs and my art, and I remember why I first became entranced with music. When I discovered singing and songwriting, I felt like I could transcend anything, whether it be complete loneliness, alienation, or time itself. With music, I felt like I could meld into something human, and communicate to others. Melody was a point of universality, being elsewhere and yet being present in the most human terms. It was a point of communicating and visibility. Music was something I did to fill in where the friends weren't. Music was available and accepting when others weren't. It's no wonder I've developed such a relationship with music over the years. I'd say I'm not exaggerating to say that I spent more time singing than speaking in high school.
To this day, I still haven't fully delved into all the reasons why I was so drawn to what I do. All I know is that there is a reason why pop culture and so many of us look back to those years of high school, it's because they're so formative. For people around the ages of 14 or 15, the attitudes and perceptions we forge around that time remain, long after we've moved on from high school. (Think of all the classic American movies about these years!) We sense that for the most part, we became who were during those years, or at least, the initial sparks of our personality we laid out then. There is that Picasso quote "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
I'm putting out new music soon, as well as a music video for my song "Working Dude." I've dealt with some resistance, but I remember that time when I first discovered all of this, and when nothing else mattered. Summers were endless, everything was ageless, anything could happen. When I remember that time, and the purity of my discovery, I feel an instant surge of energy and enthusiasm. And with that memory, I move ahead. May all of us remember the initial innocence of our firsts, whether it be love, hang-gliding, snowshoeing, racing, ball, miming, or music. We can remember these times to re-affirm our spirits, brighter, and onwards.
Talk soon :) Eric