Artistic Journey as in a Series of Re-Invention

Was reading “Real Artists Don’t Starve” by Jeff Goins and it made me reflect on my artistic journey.

From around 17-18 I knew I was really into music but I really didn’t know what it meant. Growing up a son of Japanese “salaryman” (my dad was a traditional corporate warrior, though he would later attempt to re-invent himself, too) in an international community, I really didn’t know anybody who was actually a musician.

So I tried my hands at all kinds of things, first teaching guitar, then transcribing music, music for films, being a singer-songwriter, fronting my own band, being a guitar sideman.

Then around 2008 I learned that some people were making a full-time living from blogging so I tried that, but instead of music I wrote about personal development. At the time I just couldn’t wrap my head around writing about music because I wasn’t confident about music to begin with. But I got burned out of that about 9 months in, because blogging took all my creative energy but I missed music.

In the 10 years since then I focused on the last remaining thing, which was my own music. Offering my “services” to other projects was hard in terms of really finding projects that I could get behind. And I’m still tweaking, still changing identities, perhaps not as drastically but still trying to find clarity in what it is that I am.

I’m a songwriter and guitarist, singer and arranger and record producer, with passion/compassion for mental health, personal development, mentoring, business, and spirituality. I love finding new insights and then sharing them.

Right now I am sharing my insights by analyzing other people’s music. On YouTube people are finding me and watching my videos I made on the Beatles songs. I’m grateful because I feel like I found a door into a building that I’ve been wanting to get in. But it’s a balancing act, too, because analyzing other people’s music is perhaps a tiny part of who I am. It’s a good demonstration of the values I offer through my insights but not an end in itself. I haven’t stopped making my own music, and I’m still exploring how to put all this together in cohesive, clear and understandable ways. With these music analysis content and my own original music, I feel like my compassion for mental health and message around life insights are getting lost, so I’m trying to figure out how to blend that back in — hence these posts.

I have a vision that some day I’ll stumble upon a group of people — I expect them to be all hanging out somewhere, because people congregate around common grounds — where they look at what I am and totally get it. They’ll be like “wow Ari, you’re awesome! Where have you been all along? We’ve been looking for someone like you.”

I feel like I have a lot to offer to a certain group of people. I’ve been trying to figure out where they are, or how to be findable to them, but it’s hard or even impossible until you figure out who you are first. It takes constant adjustments and persistence but I’m still in the game. I’m not going anywhere fast but the journey has been rich with learning, and those certain people will find a lot of value in what I have to share.