Living the Dream in Music

Making music to me is a worthy challenge.  I’m passionately in love with my favorite songs, and artists who made them, that the thought of my music having a chance to do the same for other people is more alluring than just about anything else in my life.  It’s very difficult and many days I wonder if I am no good, but I keep showing up and plugging away.

My dream has always been to be a full-time musician, because I always wanted to have the focus and time that I thought would come with being a professional.  I yearn for a simple life where I raise my family and make music.  That’s really all I need, those two things.

But life turned out to be more complex.  First of all I was clueless as to what being a full-time musician actually meant.  I was also very confused about what it is that drew me to music to begin with.  In my adult life I tried all kinds of music-related activities.  I tried private teaching, transcribing, scoring jingles, scoring films, recording/producing other artists.  And I would try forming original rock bands, playing in other people’s bands as a sideman, and playing out on my own as a singer/songwriter.  In all of those pursuits I would hit a wall sooner or later and I didn’t have the gumption to keep going.

And because they didn’t work I would get even more distracted.  I went from job to job to pay the bills, and sometimes would even try building a business or a career with them.  I had a couple of web design/development freelancing bouts that eventually met the same fate as all my music pursuits.  It was a process of elimination, it seemed like I had to go try everything else I could and fail so that I was forced to come back and face what I truly loved, what I wanted to begin with.  In the hind sight I always knew what I truly wanted but what I was lacking was faith.  I somehow believed that I couldn’t just have or be what I wanted, I had to earn it, I had to justify that I was worthy of it.

20 years have gone by and I’m still dreaming the same dream, except my plate is finally clear of everything else except it.  I have a day job of my dreams that provide a great living for my family without draining the life out of me.  And I’m making the music that I want to make.  I sure wish that I didn’t take this long to get to where I am, but I am making my peace with my journey.  I am having the time of my life being a dad, for example, that I am glad I didn’t “make it” as some kind of touring musician early on and get stuck with it.  I was so naïve and unpractical when I was young — the kind of student who had great book knowledge and got good grades but was no good in the real world.  Even if I had more clarity about what I actually wanted, I wouldn’t have been able to actually create it.

But one thing I am proud of is that I am a survivor and I never stopped learning.  I made countless mistakes and went through very challenging times, but each and every year I grew and got better at life.  Because I took the time to try and eliminate all other avenues, I am much clearer now of what I want.  And I also learned that I didn’t need anybody’s permission or validation to have what I wanted.  What I want is time to devote to creating music that means something to me.  I don’t have as much time as I’d like, sure, but I make as much time as I can.  That’s within my powers today and I don’t have to wait for something else to happen that “allows” me to make the music I love.

My dream is to keep making music and sharing it, to find others who find it meaningful.  And to create a little community.  I want this community to be a safe place where we can talk about and expose vulnerable sides of ourselves.  That’s what I do with my music, to expose my vulnerability, because it hurts too much to just keep these important but tender parts of ourselves hidden and buried.

And I would love to collaborate with this community to expand what I do.  To get more time to do it, first and foremost, but also refine and broaden my offerings to make them more impactful.  One of the benefits of the long journey I’ve taken is that I had time to develop my unique combination of interests, skills and insights.  I enjoy writing, mentoring, and figuring out best practices.  All these elements combine to create a whole that I don’t see many other places.

My vision is to build an endeavor that combines my passion for thoughtful rock music, my concern for our mental/emotional well-being and my love of creating, performing, and mentoring.  I don’t have it all figured out yet, but I am excited about everything I’m doing now.  I have so many fun projects to work on that it doesn’t matter which one I’m working on.  I’m having the time of my life, it feels so good that I really want to let it spill over and affect other people.  I perceive much dismay and hopelessness in the world, but yet here I am, enjoying a safe, hopeful, productive life.  I would love to share what I got, because it’s a good life, and it’s still getting better.

There was a time when I wondered if I should be making the kind of music I am making.  It’s full of angst and sorrow, I thought — am I not perpetuating more of that by making these songs?  I didn’t know that good life means to feel all emotions freely, nor the transformational power of art that takes these “undesirable” emotions and turn them into something that creates life energy instead of sucking it out.  Angst and sorrow are already everywhere, but they are only bad because we try to suppress, distract and prevent them.  The best practice is to embrace and feel them, and music can be a great conduit for that.  That is my platform and I am making music to be a channel for my hard feelings that have nowhere else to go, with the hope that it’ll serve a similar cathartic purpose for other people as well.  Though I’d be perfectly happy and appreciate anyone who listens and is simply entertained — but that is not my goal, that is not the reason why I do this.

I want to make a positive impact to the world, and I am learning that I can do so by living a good life myself, so that I can be a presence that supply the good vibe and energy to the world around me.

If any of what I said resonates with you, please join my little circle!  Being on my mailing list is the best way, but you can connect to me in all the digital places where I’m active — YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud.  Or if you’re local to the Twin Cities, I’m always up to meeting up for a coffee.

Together we’ll explore more meaningful rock music, and dream about making the world a better place