My whole life I’ve been committed to finding a career that means something to me. But while living on the east coast particularly, wanting to hug trees or “Save the Whales” for a living never seemed practical. If money weren’t an incentive, I’m sure a lot of us would have chosen very different ways to spend our time. I’ve tried many different kinds of work but always spent time on my art or music.
I’ve been playing musical instruments since a very young age, writing songs from junior-high, and will continue to write, record and perform as long as I can. I’ve traveled through half the country with my cousin and performed anywhere from a Waffle House in Texas to hundreds of people on Elvis Presley Blvd. Through my travels, I now have friends outside of New York, even a group of people in Illinois I consider a second family.
After a quarter century of playing guitar and singing in public I’m confident of my talents and enjoy sharing them most of the time. Back in New York, I perform during dinner several days a week at a beautiful lakefront restaurant, and it pays the bills for now. I continue to put out original music when inspired, but promoting myself in any way has always made me very uncomfortable. It just hit me recently that I’m pretty tired of something many performers ‘suffer’ from, call it the “look-at-me” syndrome.
I was moved by a friend recently who told me about a young boy who ended his life because of being bullied. I’ve wracked my brains over this for 46 years and am coming to accept that, when you put us humans around other humans, we will disagree and fight from a very young age. Kids can even tease and torment each other to the point of making life a living hell. I have my story about being bullied as a kid, but today’s kids have it far worse.
Through our reliance on the internet and other technology it is now possible to spread gossip, for example, to a seemingly infinite number of people all over the world. Sadly, there are kids interested in doing this, and lives are already being lost.
I’m not looking to use such a delicate and tragic issue to promote myself as a musician or in any other way. But it’s time I use my talents and social networking for a more important purpose. I’m willing to use my experiences as an artist and teacher to help in any way toward raising awareness about this epidemic and help educate teachers, parents and other students on how to deal with this.
I won’t deny that helping someone other than yourself can make you feel good. But most importantly, I hope I stay brave and maintain the integrity needed to shift toward more important and meaningful work.