I have a four day weekend, and a house to myself! So what am I doing? Playing with music of course!!!
I recorded another A cappella cover song today. It’s ‘Without Fear’ by Dermot Kennedy, who is one of my absolute favourite artists of all time already, though I only discovered him about 6 months or so ago:
Seriously, if you haven’t heard of him by now, check his stuff out.
I just absolutely love music. It’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but it’s only recently that I feel I’ve really embraced it as a full fledged hobby.
When I was very young, my parents bought my sister and I an electronic keyboard. I’m not sure why a keyboard exactly, other than that this was the late ’80’s/early ’90’s, so I’m sure it was probably pretty much the most popular instrument of the day at the time. That and maybe because I would always play the piano in the church reception room after Sunday services while all the adults had their tea and coffee. I didn’t know what I was doing, mind you, but I would strike keys here and there where I thought they might sound good, and sometimes adults even asked me if I’d taken lessons (which I hadn’t). I was just making it up as I went along. Maybe my parents thought I would be some kind of prodigy. Unfortunately I never lived up to that though! Ha. I did however learn a few simple children’s songs – one key at a time style. The title of this post is from one of those songs [(Put Another Nickel in) Music! Music! Music!]. Still don’t know how to play a single full piano chord. Are they called chords on the piano? I don’t even know.
I also sung in the church choir for a few years, and even asked the choir instructor if I could play the piano for a bit at an event we were going to sing at. She said no. That always stuck with me for some reason, even though as mentioned, I didn’t know what I was doing in front of a piano. I just knew I liked doing it.
My Oma and parents gave me cassette tapes as Christmas and birthday presents from as early on as I can remember, so I had a good background in oldies, at least. I memorized lyrics obsessively, and especially loved those which told a story. ‘A Horse with No Name,’ was one of my first favourites, probably because it’s so visually appealing; especially to a young person.
In Grade 2, our teacher taught us how to play the recorder, and the ukulele. He also brought in a saxophone for us to try, and we made ‘one-string, cookie tin banjos’. By now the world of music had completely captivated me.
I wanted to be a drummer. I think I just connected with the beat of music more than any other part, aside from the lyrics of course. When I was 12, my parents bought my sister and I each a guitar. This was never an instrument I’d even considered learning. They said drums were too loud (also, probably, too expensive, though they didn’t mention this part). I took guitar lessons for a bit that year, but I was only interested in learning quick, easy pop-punk songs I could rock out to in my room. My teacher taught me some acoustic classics (though it was an electric guitar) and indulged my power-chord only choices from time to time. I don’t think I continued with lessons for even a full year.
As an adult I learned the occasional new song, having now switched to an actual acoustic guitar. I never learned theory or anything like that. Still, music never lost its grip on me. For a time, I thought I was going to be an entertainment reporter, and that would be how I stayed connected to it. Maybe I would even write musician biographies. After a semester of covering the arts while in college for journalism, I changed my mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I got to interview some fantastic famous people from bands I admired. I also, unfortunately, interviewed a slightly up-and-coming band who thought they were too cool for school (literally, as most, if not all of them bragged in the interview about dropping out of college). They didn’t answer my request for an interview via email, so I showed up at their show and asked in person (hey, I had a deadline to meet). They agreed and all sat down with me together. I think there were like five or six people in this band, and I didn’t really know who any of them were, so it was incredibly difficult to keep them all straight. They gave an arrogant interview laced with a bunch of idiocy, and then they were all so uncomfortable with what they had said being put in print, that once the piece was published they contacted the school to complain about it, and me. That was enough to kill it for me. Honestly, I don’t have the patience to deal with the egos of some people who are in the music scene. Having dipped my toes into the punk scene of Toronto, even as a fan, I was put off by the snobbery of some artsy types who think they are better than everyone. Even though all the people I spoke to who were already famous, or even on the brink of actual success were some of the kindest, most humble, down-to-Earth humans I’ve ever had the pleasure of having conversations with. The fact that some parts of the job would entail kissing ass to people who thought they were better than everyone, just to get an interview, which would help give exposure to undeserving assholes, in order to fill a quota, really turned me off of the idea.
Plus, more concretely, the actual reason I didn’t pursue it was I realized I didn’t want to be writing about people living out their dreams – or attempting to. I wanted to be attempting to live out mine. Admittedly, I did always dream of being a rockstar, though I never thought I would ever attain it. It was just where my mind would wander to as a child when I had free time to play, and as an adult, occasionally, when I would lose myself in someone else’s songs I’d hear over the radio (or more recently, computer). I’d envision myself living the life, touring, playing shows to crowds most nights of the week. If you’re gonna have dreams, might as well go big, or go home, right?
Anyway, I know it’s a hard thing to obtain, and I’m nowhere near it, but I have been focused on music as a hobby lately, and whether or not it turns into anything for me, I’m just having so much fun playing with it.
I have written over a dozen songs, at least 9 of which I’m happy enough with to potentially release at some point. And I’ve already recorded three of them, and put them out into the world. They were recorded live (so I’m playing guitar and singing at the same time) and admittedly aren’t perfect, but I’m still so happy just to have them exist in this world. They can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and a number of other platforms.
Here are the a Spotify links:
That last one I already linked to in another post but why not link it again, right?
Anyway, hope everyone is having a wonderful Easter, and finding time throughout your lives to pursue your passions, even if only in small doses.