Ch-Ch-Changes And Risk TakingJuly 11, 2010
Nope, it’s not that things in my life are changing; nothing big at any rate. But I have been drawing a bit of inspiration from Derek Sivers, the guy who started CDBaby. Derek posts some pretty insightful thoughts on his blog and it’s gotten me thinking about my time on this planet and how I got where I am now.
Thirty-two years ago, I made a decision to get out of Springfield, Illinois and move to the state of my birth, California. I threw darts at a map of California and ended up in the Northern California town of Redding. After spending six years there, I moved to Chico, CA, got my B.A and a teaching certificate and taught middle school math for eleven years.
Thirteen years ago, I decided that what I really really wanted to do was sing. I also asked myself the question “Where can I do that?” and the answer quickly came: Edinburgh, Scotland.
“Why Edinburgh, Scotland? I hear you ask. After visiting that city for a couple of summers before the move and attending lots of singing sessions and doing a few floor spots at folk clubs, I was always invited to perform at other events, but had to decline. “I have this job back in California” I would respond when asked if I was available.
So in 1997 I packed a very large suitcase, my guitar and my laptop and spent six very amazing months in Edinburgh doing nothing but singing and learning. I wasn’t learning about the business of being a full-time musician, but learning about actually being a folk singer, especially the kind of folk singer I wanted to be.
It was a huge risk to take, leaving a secure job with good pay and benefits to do what I love to do and have always wanted to do since I can remember. Another risk I took was asking people whom I knew and respected in the music and entertainment industry if I had the chops to pull it off. I had a perfect score: all of the professionals I asked said that I certainly did have the talent. But that also came with the warning: it takes a lot of very hard work and even with that success can be elusive.
But here I am, thirteen years later, doing what I love. I am not making millions, but I am happier than I have ever been.