There are questions that over time we have become accustomed to not having the answers to. Indeed, these seemingly unanswerable rhetorical questions become almost as cliche as the Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus/Bridge/Chorus formula of music. Questions like "What's the meaning of life?" or "What came first, the chicken or the egg?"
Well, for the last few years there's been a question in my life that has been seemingly unanswerable. The irony of it is I had not realized it until someone took the time to ask it to me squarely: "Why do you want to be a success in music? What does making music get for you?" It's a simple enough question at first glance. Then the onion starts to peel back and the layers are seemingly neverending. I come up with these anecdotes, all true but all averting the real question:
'Music saved my life growing up. I want to give back!"
"It brings me joy!" (Nevermind it also brings me pain)
"I have these gifts, I feel like I must use them."
"It's my therapy, my way of relating to the world."
"When I'm creating and singing, I'm at my happiest."
Story after story I could weave and share with those quotes from above and really come up with some nice answer. But it's not a real answer. Someone once told me of acting, "if you could be happy doing something else, anything else, then do it. Because making a living at acting is too hard if it's not the ONLY thing you want to do." I could be happy doing many other things besides acting. In fact, I pretty much did give it up. Do I miss it? Sure. Am I devastated by it? No. I tried to walk away from making music, too. Twice actually. And I was here recently almost on the verge of trying it again. But it ALWAYS brings me back. There is always music in my soul ... can't that just be enough? No. Apparently, I have something to prove. But what is it?
So, what's the deal with music? I never trained to play an instrument. In fact, I"m not even that great at it. I never trained to be a producer. In fact, I produced myself out of necessity. I never trained to be a singer. In fact, I could probably stand for some vocal lessons. I never made any money from music. In fact, over the years I've poured thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars into my journey of making it a career. I don't have a strong fan base ... yet... in fact, I haven't figured out the magic formula for how to attract people. I have a hard time defining my niche. I have an even harder time trying to define my target audience. Is it gay? Just gay men? Just straight women? Only 25 - 40 year olds? Who do I market to? How do I reach them? Why do I want to? Why after 5 albums, countless videos, many performances, many disappointments, failures and tears do I still WANT and NEED this so badly? That IS the question.
The only answer, as trite as it may sound, that I persist in wanting, striving to have some kind of career in music ... is that I have no choice. I've always dreamed it was my destiny. From the very first song I wrote when I was 11, I knew it was what I was meant to do. As I've evolved, I've come to understand that all human beings across the world want the same 3 things. We all want to feel loved. We all want to feel important. And we all want to feel connected. No matter what actions, good or bad, we take, the reason behind it comes down to those 3 things. Music is my trifecta. When I'm on a stage and people are giving me their energy, I feel loved, I feel important, I feel connected. When someone is listening to my songs and they tell me how much it has touched them, I feel loved, I feel important, I feel connected. When I see people dancing and enjoying something that I've created, something that has wholly come out of me, something I've put my heart and soul into .... I feel loved, I feel important, I feel connected. If this is all we are searching for in life, no wonder I keep coming back to this.
Here's what I want in life: to be a beacon of light. Interpret that as you will, but I've done some soul searching and I know what it means to me. And from where I'm sitting today, I know that somehow this musical path that I'm on will lead me to that destination. I just have to trust, have faith, keep on persisting, keep on growing, learning, sharing and most importantly, keep on being a vessel for these songs that get channeled through me. And keep on singing.