I don't know what the future will bring. I am twenty-two and refuse to make very many long-term plans. I know that right now I want to travel and make music. I can't look very far beyond that though. Maybe in six months I'll want to have a job. Maybe I'll want to rent an apartment on the other side of town and stay up every night eating Captain Crunch and writing a screenplay. Maybe I'll want to put on my fur coat and move to Siberia. Who knows.
I do not know what the future will look like. Honestly, I don't want to know. I am okay with it being a mystery. It's exciting. It's full of opportunities.
When I was 17, I wanted to be a concert pianist. Horowitz 2.0, or something like that.
I told my piano teacher that I wanted to make music for a living. I thought he would probably be stoked. But instead he just took a bite of the big piece of meat that sat atop his fork (he always ate during lessons) and scrunched his brow. He probably said something in Yiddish when he was done chewing. I don't remember. But I do remember the words he said in English:
"Only pursue music if there's nothing else you can do to be happy. I don't recommend for people to be musicians. In fact, I tell them not to do it. It's not easy. It can be miserable. And it doesn't pay well. But if there's nothing else that makes you happy like music does, then go for it."
He then asked what other things I was thinking about doing with my life. "I like commercials," I say. "I'm thinking about going into advertising."
"Do you drink?" he says without even skipping a bit. I shake my head "no." "Well, you should start if you're going into advertising," he says.
That was the last time I ever thought about going into advertising.
Of course, that was not the last time I ever thought about music.
In fact, the more I explore other ideas and try out other options, the more I realize that music is really my bottom line. I may have a college degree in film, but music will always be my first love. Music is what makes me the happiest.
Music isn't everybody's bottom line. And if you can be happy doing something else and making real money off of it, more power to ya.
But, in the words of my old piano teacher, if there's nothing else that makes you happy like music does, then go for it.
I'm gonna try to go for it this summer.
I shall close with this video, courtesy of Amanda Palmer:
I think this is the most beautiful cover of this song in existence.
If you want to sing out, sing out. If you want to be free, be free. There are a million things to be. You know that there are.