When I started at my current full-time day job in 2015, I planned to scale back on playing live, focusing on recording my album and strategically creating content such as videos, which had the potential of reaching a wider audience than local shows. Production on the album ran long, and creating and releasing content proved to be more difficult than I’d hoped. I then entered a period of my life when I was barely making music at all, and it weighed on me. I grappled with the question "am I a failure?" nearly every day for the next few years.
I started to get the impression that some (or many) people thought "music" was a hobby for me, and the misconception was completely understandable. After all, I hadn't released music or been on tour since 2013, I only played 1-3 shows each month, I didn’t have any press coverage, I hadn’t sold a ton of records and I didn't have a lot of plays on Spotify. Most of those things are still true to this day. One night, back when I was daylighting as a barista, as I was packing up my gear after a (paid) gig, a guy who had previously seen me working at the coffee shop came up to me and asked if I was “trying to be a professional musician.” I paused sightly, then said, “well, I am a professional musician. I get paid to play music.” But because I also had a non-music related job, he didn’t see me as such.
Sometimes I look back through old pictures on my Facebook music page and marvel at how busy I was in 2013, the year I released my debut EP, toured the Midwest and part of the South, playing shows in 11 states and 16 cities, and played numerous shows around the state of Texas throughout the year. Even then, I didn't feel completely "successful." It was hard. I was broke. But those were some happy times.
Over the past few months, I’ve gotten busy again - almost too busy - playing lots of my own shows and even playing and singing with other artists. My team has put some good work into the album and it feels revitalized. I think it can finally be finished this year. I still need my day job to keep me afloat, pay the bills and literally fund my career as an artist. Anyone who has even the smallest bit of insight into what this life entails knows that it can be exorbitantly expensive. So the balancing act continues.
I think these days it’s much clearer than it was even this time last year that "music" is much more than a hobby to me. I play paid gigs. A lot of them. I intend on releasing music on major channels and selling albums on the road. I intend to pursue licensing opportunities that will place my music in film, tv, commercials or other uses for which I will collect payment. I intend to continue writing songs and perhaps co-writing and/or pitching my songs to performing artists for them to record. I intend to continue performing - locally, nationally, and perhaps internationally. I hope to have a song played on the radio. I will now take this moment to remind everyone that even in 2019, terrestrial local radio is important, and I’d be overjoyed if a Dallas station (or any local station, anywhere) accepted my work for airplay.
Even if I sit at a desk during the day, I am still pursuing all of the aforementioned goals. I may never be famous, but I do hope to achieve everything I've mentioned here. Many people work multiple jobs. So do I. Specifically, I am a performing songwriter (or singer-songwriter, if you will). Sometimes I'm a professional vocalist or gigging musician. All that to say, it's more than just "doing music." Songwriting, performing, creating and all the backend work that goes with promoting all of that is what I do when I'm not at my day job. It's my career, my future and my passion.