Something I've realized recently is scaring me a bit.
I’ve realized that I’ve begun to lose my drive and passion for playing music because I’m expecting too much to come from it. Singing is my greatest passion; it’s the thing I love doing most in the world. It still is something that brings me happiness, but not nearly as much as it used to, because there are so many expectations I’ve set for myself. Now, for reasons unknown to me, it’s no longer just a way to release anything that I’m feeling and embody something else for a while. It’s a looming challenge now that I can’t seem to face. It’s “do this for a living right now or don’t do it at all.”
My dream has almost always been to sing and play music for people for a living; I just can’t seem to find the drive to climb up that hurdle now that I’m in Nashville. Now it feels like that dream is something lingering far in the distance, looking down on me saying “It’s not happening now, so it’ll never happen; why are you trying?”
It used to be enough just to sing along with records or with friends by a campfire. Yet now, since I live in “Music City” and the competition to be seen as a musician is so much steeper than I’m used to, I feel like if I want to be a musician even at all, I can’t do it for fun, I have to do it to try to “make it”. Why do I feel like this needs to happen right now, at this very moment? Why can’t it just be something I love doing? Because I need to be famous? I don’t want to be famous - I just want to be happy and singing and playing for people. So why am I not doing it? Why did I lose the drive? It can’t just be because the competition is too steep - anyone who knows me is well aware that I’m hugely competitive and will fight tooth and nail to win. You’d think that I’d want to fight as hard as I can to do something I love passionately, right? Yeah, me too. Since I’ve made it a competition against myself, though, there isn’t much winning involved.
The math looks like this to me (in my irrational mind that I’m trying to sort out):
Immense passion + strong desire to do it for the rest of your life = need to make it your career. That definitely isn’t how it works. Obviously there are so many other things involved: money, time, equipment, skill, support. Money and time are the most elusive ones, and the biggest bitches to get on your side. I think I’ve just reached the point now where I feel like if I’m not playing music as a career right now, I’ll never do it. That just kills the drive right there. I really want it back, though; I really want the passion of it back, the feeling of letting music fill me up and take me somewhere else, out of myself. I need to realize that not every sung word that comes out of my mouth needs to be filled with regret that it’s not being sung on a stage or into a recording microphone. Sure, there are SO many things that I could be doing right now to further this endeavor; promoting Daniel & Grace, promoting my own stuff, practicing guitar, learning recording software/technique, writing songs, etc. That will all come, I think. Right now I just need to focus on the fact that I haven’t failed. I’m not a professional musician, but I’m not out of time. I need to love it again without setting expectations, that’s step one. Gotta start loving it again. Then maybe something will come out of it, who knows.