I don’t know what I’m doing. This is the recurring theme of my life. Nobody would believe that if I told them, but it’s the truth.
I moved to Nashville to be a country singer after my teenage-self had an a-ha moment sitting in the front row of a Reba concert (I won’t tell you how many years ago). The bullet points of that decision were a) I loved to sing and b) If I could get paid to do that, it’d be a pretty sweet life. Forget the fact that I did not grow up singing in a choir or even a karaoke bar. Nope, I was a CARaoke (see what I did there?) star with parents who told me I could sing. So, at 18, off we ALL moved from Florida to Tennessee to get a music degree and pursue the spotlight. No clue.
Fast forward a few years and a few hundred vocal lessons and I’m working on Music Row in the Publishing department of a major record label. Still pursuing the dream while paying the bills with a job I didn’t intend to keep, but enjoyed due to its connection to the creative world I so desperately wanted to be a part of. I shook a lot of hands, met a lot of celebrities, made some demos, played some shows, learned to write songs, learned to play guitar and ultimately decided that the whole glamorous superstar thing was not so shiny and appealing from the inside. But everyone told me I had a great ear for Music Publishing so, a life as a Music Row exec would be great. No clue.
10 years later I’m still in Music Publishing, honestly, by default. It was what I knew so that’s where I stayed. I climbed the ladder, had some great success and reached a point where it was time to sink my heels in and take over the world or …change careers. This decision was made more difficult by the fact that I kinda hated my job. It wasn’t what I was doing as much as who I was doing it with that made it unbearable. I was thriving creatively on the side writing songs (something I didn’t get paid for) and biting my tongue while beating my head against the desk from 9-5. Wait, did I say this was a difficult decision? I wanted out, but I didn’t know where I wanted to go. So, I stayed…. until I got let go. Per my boss, “not because of my performance” (though clearly I was not performing to the best of my ability), but because the company as a whole wasn’t doing well and she had to make some changes. I should have been terrified at suddenly losing $36k/year, but I was relieved. I was free. I could pursue my creative interests without a conflict and, surely, money would come from somewhere. Everyone said I showed great potential as a songwriter. No clue.
6 months later I’m still unemployed, but loving life. Sure, money was tight, but I was pursuing a new dream and it was fun. (My wife probably has a different opinion, but I will always be thankful for the time she allowed me to be irresponsible and free while she was not). I was co-writing with published writers and making the rounds. It felt “right”. Now if I could just get paid to do it.