my friend and bandmate jake baldwin, a badass trumpet player, started a blog recently and wrote:
"…music is, to me, about relating your life experiences through sound. that being said, I feel that it’s just as important to know the musician as it is to know his/her music."
i totally agree, and he inspired to me to start my own one of these! i’m not really sure what kind of space i want this to be just yet, but i know that i want it to be true and i know that i want to commit to coming here at least once a week. i feel like there is a super weird happening in this time of constant social media-ing when ‘rising’ musicians (i know, ew) feel like we have to come off super polished and like our careers are totally together already when really we may just have the privilege of having a recording that sounds good, a website, a few good gigs and some bad ones, and…dreams, haha. i know that the pressure to make life come off as a never-ending happy experience on social media extends to everyone, but in independent music, there is a brand of opacity that is uniquely its own. i guess the mystery of it contributes to the ‘cool’ of it, and i completely understand the ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ mentality (and use it often irl) that brings this about, but i want to be as up-front as i’m comfortable being here in this weird, detached position of a person typing feelings into a machine. i’ll do my best! here we go.
a few days ago, I got home from a month-long time away in europe, where i was lucky enough to be teaching and playing at the ‘jazz is back’ festival in groznjan, croatia for a bit, and then traveling up to germany on my own for a bit. it was surreally beautiful, physically and otherwise. the ‘otherwise’ was the gratitude i felt each time i thought about how music brought me there, and that it is a stunning gift to get to see new places and meet people with experiences much different from my own via musical opportunities. then, i remembered that it was not only a stunning gift, but also a lil’ slice of my life in which i was living my childhood dream, to be living off of my art, if only temporarily, and then all i could do was sit and stare out at the beautiful valleys below the mountain that groznjan rests upon (i like to make my introspective moments as cliche as possible). i hope that as my career moves forward, and more opportunities to become the working musician that i aspire to be come along, i never lose the magic that is feeling genuinely grateful getting to do fulfilling things in an industry that is becoming increasingly difficult to get a seat in.
amongst all the gorgeousness, though, was an ugly undercurrent of CONSTANT micro-aggressions. throughout my time in europe, i was in situations as the only black person in sight 99.9% of the time, and this contributed to a lot of fucked-upedness. a funny thing happens, though, when faced with that stuff when you are the only one who looks like you in a given situation. you continue to do your work with a happy face, still deriving great joy from the day, laughing, enjoying your food. and then, when alone, after reflecting on all the little things, they become a very big thing, and it’s overwhelming. this is, however another post entirely. so i’ll write about that next time! to end on a pretty note, here is groznjan. everywhere you turned, it was this amazing: