I had a weird revelation recently, that I shared with one of my friends who’s been in the industry longer than me – that i’m feeling burned out. I don’t know why it came as such a surprise to me, but it did, and it made me really sad and confused. Much of my childhood was spent dreaming of being a famous singer. The older I grew, this turned into the dream of being a successful musician, because let’s face it, nobody wants the paparazzi and all that mess, but it would be really, really nice to have enough people supporting your craft to do it full time, and make a comfortable living. (Think Emily Haines-level-famous).
Four years ago I was married, living in a cute Austin neighborhood, working in the corporate banking world as the manager of a quality assurance department, and bored as hell. A bunch of really scary things happened all at once: my company went under, I got divorced, I was forced to sell my house. Suddenly I was back at square one. This weird adult life I had created for myself was just gone. After being initially terrified and depressed and hiding out in my friend Brandon’s apartment, I slowly started realizing…oh-this is better.
I didn’t have money, but I was playing music again. I didn’t have a partner, but I was singing every day. I felt creative, and I felt more like myself. So I decided: I’m not going back to college (I had been gearing up to that the year before). I’m not going back to the corporate world (I had been job hunting for 6 months). I’m gonna wait tables, so that I have a schedule flexible enough to make room for what I really love to do: make music. I’m going to be HAPPY, dammit. And I started doing it. About three seconds later (or maybe more like 6 months), I met Chico Jones. Chico is magic for many, many reasons, but let me highlight the big two:
1) My whole life I was convinced that there had to be someone out there who I was attracted to, that made me laugh, that was intelligent, had the same interests as me, and was a genuinely good, loving person who wanted to take care of me, and be taken care of by me. However, in the last year or so, I had started to believe that it was just a fantasy that everyone had, I wasn’t going to find that person, and that I might end up alone. (yawn, cliche, I know)
2) Since childhood, I dreamed of being in a solid songwriting partnership. Where someone liked and respected me so much musically, and vice-versa, that we wanted to spent lots of time together writing and creating and pushing ourselves. I don’t know if it’s because of my Beatles obsession, or because I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between Elton John and Bernie Taupin, but I wanted it. I tried with a couple of others, and they just fizzled.
When I met Chico, it was because a friend of mine knew that my band had dissolved, and knew I was anxious to be involved in anything musical. He had reached out, asking for a female singer, and I responded that I would barter session work for studio time. I was excited, but didn’t have any expectations about….anything, really. Much to my surprise, the moment I met Chico changed everything. He became my catalyst. All those big things started clicking into place, and then the small things started filling in the gaps. I had this opportunity to work with someone I admired, someone I could learn from – but someone who thought I was really talented and who genuinely wanted to work with me, too. Someone who I surprisingly started to fall in love with, who fell in love with me back. And seemingly overnight, the life I wanted just happened.
Two years later, I’ve been waiting tables and doing session work to pay the bills, with every opportunity to pursue music at my fingertips. A full fledged recording studio, a producer and engineer for a boyfriend, and maybe most importantly, TIME (it’s amazing how many things you can juggle when you aren’t working 70 hours a week). But isn’t it amazing how humans behave when we get what we really want? I guess losing focus is fairly common in this world, and I definitely don’t think i’m alone over here. It’s just that sometimes, no matter how many great shows you’ve had lately, no matter how many tours you’re planning or new songs you’re writing, you feel a little burned out. You struggle to make yourself practice every day. The fantasy of renting your house out for a year and leaving everything behind to travel the world seems like such a tempting possibility. The every day ebb and flow of how much you write, how much your practice, how much you party, how many extra hours you’re stuck at work that week – it all effects your right brain – and the thing is, when it comes to passion – it’s hard to treat it like a full time job. I know many of you have learned to, and man am I jealous. I’ve gone through successful phases where I really work my ass off, and it feels GREAT – but the reality is, it’s hard to push yourself to create and be passionate day after day. Even when it’s something you love. It can be exhausting.
I don’t really think there’s a point to this post. I guess i’m just feeling guilty about feeling burned out, and wondering how many of you deal with the same thing. So anyway, to apologize for the lack of funny, here’s a really cute picture of a golden retriever puppy:
Okay, bye for now.