"Why do you want to make a CD?"
This was one of two instances (that I remember) where someone more experienced asked me a question that I didn't fully hear until years later.
The first time was when I was in college and decided to change my major from acting to political science. My father kept asking "But what are you going to do?” (I remember the "doooooo" having a kind of echo through the payphone receiver.)
What he meant was "what are you going to do with a political science degree; what are you going to do for work? You're a musician and how will that help you get work?"
I think I couldn’t hear my dad then (he would argue "ever!" haha, very funny Pops!) because I just wanted to get out of school. To me, political science was the fastest way that was still interesting. I really just wanted to be a professional musician and I was discouraged that transferring to the BA program for music meant starting over and gaining more debt. (Besides, obviously the clear path for anyone who has studied acting, writes music and has a degree in political science is to become an arts administrator for outstanding arts organizations on the east and west coasts and record albums every four years. I mean DUH, right?)
The second time a question skipped over me was when Ann Dyer - vocalist, dancer, and now director of Mountain Yoga - asked me why I'd want to make a CD. At the time she was also marketing director for SFJAZZ. Somehow, when my green self came into her office to ask if she'd have time to meet with me to share advice on the music business, she decided to make the time. She welcomed me into her home. We talked about this and that. She asked me that question and what I think she meant was why did I literally want to make a CD, and more to the point of experience, "what are you going to do with the 1,000 CDs in your garage?" Cuz that's what happens when you make a CD, unless you have a plan to sell them. Good point, Ann! I think I'm down to 500 at this point, so you know...progress! ;)
I couldn’t hear Ann then, because I was following some play book laid out by articles on "what to do next", but there is no clear path for an artist, it's your own. But you sure seek one out. Or I did anyway. I just wanted a clue of what to do, where to go, and to feel like there was some path carved out that I was safe to follow.
Sometimes I'm sorry I didn't transfer to music school. I see the relationships that formed, the community that I might have had in being somewhere at the same time with other people who were trying to grow their skills.
I'm not sorry I made a CD. I'm so glad I recorded these ideas. I'm so lucky I got to record these ideas with these people!! I'm so grateful to have a chance to reflect. You can't reflect on undeveloped ideas, or you can on your own, but they don't engage on a broader scale. I have a box of cassette tapes with short ideas from years ago, a box of written out song ideas, and 200+ short recordings on my phone that are great evidence to that fact.
My point is...I'm happy I etched out the moments in time that I did.
There's something I keep thinking about from the first post in this blog to the memory of talking with Ann. I'm not sure that I'll write this out clearly, I've rewritten it a few times, so bear with me for this last section...
I'm the age Ann was when I came bounding up asking her questions. The college grads are the same age I was when they asked questions of me. And how a recording is a moment in time that still lives on. Past. Present. and Future.
I am the younger me, I am me now, and I'm some future me, all in this moment. I am here and I am there(s). Contributing to this -- I am also living in CA and working with people in Brooklyn. I am in two time zones at once.
This shifts my perspective from 360 degrees to something spherical. From flat to 3D. (On a side nerd note, if you are wondering how many degrees are in a sphere, you would be asking the wrong question. Spheres can't be measured in degrees.Turns out they are measured in steradians or square degrees. There are 4 pi, or approximately 12.5664, steradians in a complete sphere.)
I feel a deeper, more immediate appreciation of the path I am taking, a path that doesn't have the comfort of a well-worn mud pathway to follow, but diverges through the field. I'm compelled.
As I walk around town thinking about this I am filled to tears with appreciation for the relationships and community around me. This is a greater depth of gratitude than I've known before.
Here's to life in 4 pi!
Thanks for being here. Thanks for listening.