Love is Stress

There's an old saying that goes something like, "find something you love to do, and you'll never work a day in your life". I started really thinking about that saying, and now I don't know what I've done with my life. I'm not sure if I've wasted time doing something I don't really love, or if this supposedly wise old saying is completely wrong.

I've created hours upon hours of music, some of which will never be heard, and some that gives me a great sense of pride. I have to assume I committed that much time to music out of love, but I'll be damned if it wasn't work. Have you ever spent an entire day listening to the same song, trying to get it right, and never quite getting there? If so, you know there's nothing fun about that; love, and frustration are not synonyms last time I checked.

Year after year, I release music, do shows, and try my best to get people to pay attention. I make no money, and with each passing day, I get a little bit more numb. I don't even flinch when things go wrong; I don't care about rejection anymore either. I don't make music out of love, I make it because I have to, and when people don't like it my reaction is something like "yeah, figures". I just keep moving, regardless of any acceptance.

Music is work, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Practicing, failing, trying again, and again until you get at least close to the creation you hear in your mind. Doing the same things over, and over for days at a time until it's right. If you're lucky, someone will listen to it, if you're really lucky, they'll like it enough to buy it. Does that sound fun to you? If so, more power to you, but to me it's a job.

My job is providing a product to the people who want it. The product is the story of an outsider, told in 2-3 minute intervals over music. I don't really see what love has to do with any of that; I would be making these songs whether anyone wants them or not. I have, and do make them even when no one hears them. This isn't a hobby, this is literally my life, and it's not easy. It took a lot of hard work to reach this point, and I'm still nowhere in the grand scheme of things, but I'm not complaining.

I've heard these old sayings for as long as I can remember, and the more I think about them, the more I realize they're foolish. Perhaps there was a time when one could sustain a living by doing something they love, but for me, that appears unlikely. You know what's fun about making music? Performing it live, that's pretty much it apart from hearing the final version of your song just as you want it. Everything else is hard work, if you do it all yourself it's even harder. It's thankless most of the time as well, but when you do get a positive response, it means so much. Maybe I'm just chasing a fleeting feeling of acceptance from my fellow human; is that love?

Photos, promotion, videos, staying active on social media, booking shows, networking, and everything else that comes with being a musician are not things I particularly love. I do these things because they are necessary to releasing music, and if I had a choice, someone else would do them for me. What I love is being around friends, I love having a great meal with family, celebrating the good times, and the catharsis of performing. All the other stuff kinda sucks sometimes to be honest, but you take the good with the bad. That's life, and life is hard work no matter how you feel about it. Love it or hate it, this is all you've got, so you better get to work.

Truthfully, I don't usually think about why I make music, it's just in my nature. I get frustrated just like any independent artist, and want to throw in the towel, but after a while I'm right back in my studio. Maybe that is love, even if it sometimes feels like a job. A marriage requires work, but is based on love, and the same goes for my first love, music. Sometimes I think she hates me because I'm not good enough, but she's always there for me no matter what. Others might judge, and disapprove of our relationship, but this is between us. As taxing as this relationship may be at times, I know deep down all the struggle is worthwhile. Come to think of it, that really is love, and that's something deserving of hard work.

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