When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.
Standstill - Looking for Advice!
Well it all just came about within the last month, after releasing my first solo record back in May, planning and playing a small DIY tour throughout the Summer and Fall, sending my record out to radio stations, music blogs, magazines, etc, all this and I suddenly feel as if I’m at a bit of standstill. About 900 physical CD’s lay in their original shipping boxes in my room — A little over 100 have been sold and given away. I need to get the word out beyond my current situation.
My real aspirations are to plan a cross-country US tour in major cities and even small towns throughout the US. But, of course this requires a lot planning, money and having the right tools - naturally I have worries
1. I really don’t want to do it alone. Nothing would be better then to have another songwriter or musician willing to come with me and share the emotional and physical stresses of playing in a new place everyday, but I’m not sure if anybody would be willing to.
2. With this, I also run into the problem of transportation. My car (Betsey), a 2001 Mercury Sable has proved to run relatively well this Summer and Fall when I tested her limits by going as far as 110 miles away from home. Considering she has 120,000 miles on her, I felt it wise to keep it a relatively short distance. But I cannot confine myself to this for much longer. I’m itching to see and play the rest of America. I have a feeling the music may get a better response in other parts of the country. But I need a stable form of transportation - perhaps to buy a new car or maybe even an RV?
3. I’ve been working at this cafe in Queens for a good 8 months now, starting to save up as much money as I can to make something happen - up until this point I wasn’t sure if the money would go towards a complete move to the West Coast (most likely Washington State) or towards touring the country, but the bottom line is that no matter what I’m gonna need a big chunk of money — especially if I’m out on the road for more then a month.
So these are 3 of my big worries in attempting to make make a significant change in both my life and career. I’m curious to know if anybody has any advice they are willing to share or know of anybody who is in or was in a similar situation?
An inspiring sentiment… from one musician to another
I found these words pretty inspiring. I found this on a blog for a band called The Whispering Tree based out of NYC. I had met them at the cafe I work at in Queens and started following their blog. Pretty awesome stuff - from one musician to another:
“Fourteen days to go until we’ll be living full time in a trailer!!! So I wanted to take this time to write down our mission statement of sorts, to explain why we’re taking this drastic action (besides the obvious “because its awesome” reason) and what we hope to get out of it.
Short version: Life is far too short to spend it doing anything other than what you love to do.
We’ve been living in and around New York City for four and a half years now, and I’ve been here the majority of my life. Maybe it’s just that we’ve been stationary for so long, but those four and a half years have all kind of blended into a big mushy ball…they really just flew by in a blur of relative same-ness, and I’d like the rest of my years on earth to be punctuated by more diversity and memorable experiences.
Now New York City might appear to be a really happening place in which to be an artist, and maybe it is for some…but not for me. It’s taken me awhile to admit that I’m more of a tree/grass/river/mountain person than a concrete/traffic/rat person. Living in the city, I would literally go outside my apartment building for a walk, get to the end of the block and turn back around (I swear concrete leeches energy from me), so I ended up spending most of my free time holed up inside my apartment. I find that the city tends to make me ultra self conscious… maybe its all the people. People, people everywhere. I do enjoy dipping my toes into the human pond, but on the whole I prefer a little more species diversity. The city makes me feel like I’m living in a large insect colony of some kind (I’m not talking about the cockroaches) – like there’s a whole forest out there and I’m hanging out in the termite mound.
Then there’s the whole having to work a day job to pay your rent thing, it seems like it would make more sense to pursue an artistic career in a less expensive city. The one and only underpriced thing in NYC is talent; no where else in the western world can you find such talented people willing to work for so little, if anything at all. If I were a public policy maker I would come up with some kind of program to make life a little easier for artists here, and I would do it quickly before they all leave for greener pastures…because without artists New York City would just be a concrete wasteland full of hipsters, tourist attractions and Broadway adaptations of Disney movies.
Also, New Yorkers are a jaded bunch on the whole…its not our fault, it’s just that there is SO much happening everywhere, all the time, that you really start to tune it all out…that goes for everything; art, music, people you pass in the street.
When we went on tour, we would feel so free, happy and inspired. The thought of returning to the city would leave us both with this heavy, uncomfortable feeling. It was tangible; as soon as we’d enter New Jersey our moods would take a turn for the worse (insert New Jersey joke). I think most people would agree that when the thought of returning home makes you bitchy, depressed and anxious, its a pretty clear indication that you’re not in the right place!
We’d talked about the idea of living some sort of mobile existence, but never very seriously . Then during one of our annual camping trips in Montauk, these two gorgeous airstreams pulled up to the spot next to ours, and we spent the night gazing longingly at them. I think that’s when the seed was planted. We love travelling, we feel most alive when we’re exploring new places, and we hate feeling weighed down with belongings, jobs, rent, etc. so I’m really surprised that it took us this long to go the nomadic route.
We started to realize that we didn’t want to “pursue” a career anymore…we didn’t want to spend our day-to- day lives working jobs that didn’t satisfy us, in the hopes that one day we’d “make it” and be able to make a living off of our music. So, what? So, we cut our expenses as much as possible, make touring as economic as possible, and play as much as we can…basically, like the best slogan in the world says, we JUST DO IT! I have no idea whether this will be a viable solution (not that there’s really anything to solve), or where it will take us…but I do know that at the very least it will be an adventure – and it feels like a life style which is far more in alignment with who we are and what we want our lives to look like!”
Moving to Seattle - Pt. 1 [Fear fo the Unknown]
As I write this, I’m working at my job, at a small independent café in the middle of Queens, NY – no action thus far. Not exactly sure why. It’s not like there are vast amount of independent cafes in Queens, but I guess when people become entrapped by corporate chain coffee sellouts like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, its hard to let go of it.
I graduated from college one year ago with a BA in Media Studies, yet I work here not because I necessarily want to but because I’m attempting to pursue life as a musician/singer/songwriter. I guess it’s just a typical cliché. Starving artist working at a café to pursue his dream job career. Yea, that’s me.
Though while I attempt to pursue that dream, I’m also saving up for my eventual move to Seattle. With each paycheck, I set aside a small amount for a savings account that continues to grow inch by inch, week by week at which by some arbitrary point will eventually be used to fund my move.
Of course, I know that a move to the other side of the country is to wipe the slate clean of everything I’ve known for the last twenty-three years – friends, family, lifestyle, familiarity will change to unfamiliarity, uncertainty and fear of fucking things up [aka “fear of the unknown”]. Not exactly the most comforting of words.
I’ve lived in NYC for almost my whole life and while I’m in search for something more, it has become a place that I call home. A comfort zone, so to speak. But to leave the comforts of your home to pursue the unknown takes a lot of courage and I believe fear of the unknown tends to drive us to do awesome things.
Thus, for now I continue to save up and work toward what I believe to be true and real in my life – my passion for music and my yearning to live in the often beautiful and inspiring Pacific Northwest.
Wind in my hair, I feel part of everywhere
Underneath my being is a road that disappeared
Late at night I hear the trees, they’re singing with the dead
Leave it to me as I find a way to be
Consider me a satellite, forever orbiting
I knew all the rules, but the rules did not know me
“Society” - Eddie Vedder