Austin, TX, was my home for 8 years – technically I still consider it to be one of my many homes, though I have not spent more than a few weeks there since I left 3 years ago. Up until that point I had never felt more alive than when I moved to Austin with my older brother, Rad, in August of 2005. Rad was just about to begin attending Law School at the University of Texas at Austin. We were both living in New York state at the time. I had just graduated undergraduate with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology, but I was quickly realizing that my highest excitement in life was playing and creating music.
When I told my girlfriend that I wanted to pursue music, instead of furthering my psychology path after graduation, she wasn’t what one would technically call “supportive” of this decision. Instead she decided to point out all of the reasons why I shouldn’t pursue music. I don’t blame her for her fear response to my newly clarified desires. Honestly, I shared those same fears. Up until that moment music had always just been my creative outlet, a hobby that I explored at the foot of my bed and in the privacy of my own home. However, though I shared her fears, I didn’t feel comfortable allowing her to tell me what I was or wasn’t capable of achieving. With the love, support, and confidence of six siblings and two parents, I decided to move to Austin with Rad in pursuit of this dream.
Though living in the self-proclaimed “live music capitol of the world” felt like realizing a big part of my dream, I quickly found myself working paycheck to paycheck and barely playing any music. Before I knew it 8 years had passed and I realized that I was working jobs that supported other people’s dreams, but not my own. Essentially, I realized that I needed to stop trying to “do” this thing and simply “be” it. I needed to fully immerse myself in the world of music. I needed to be music like I needed to eat, like I needed to breath, and I knew that this would most likely mean that I would have to make certain financial sacrifices to get there. I would work less, which means I would make less money, but this would “afford” me the time and energy to immerse myself in my dream.
The decision to fully immerse myself in my craft was catalyzed by two of my siblings – my younger brother, Guy, and my older brother, Rad. Guy asked me to move to the small town of Ashland, Oregon, where he lived in a one bedroom cabin, in the middle of the woods. Guy wanted to finally put into action something that he and I had talked about for years – a musical collaboration. Rad had quit his job as a lawyer in a very successful law firm so he could travel around the globe for the next 2 years. While on this physical journey through the world outside, hopefully he would find his way through his internal world – finding clarity of purpose. His decision to be courageous enough to leave the comforts he had created for himself, and step out into the unknown in search of his purpose reminded me of my own decision to move to Austin. Rad re-inspired me to stop putting my life and desires on hold and to resume my musical journey. I packed my car up with all of my music equipment and as many of my other belongings that I could take and headed for Ashland. The irony of moving away from the “live music capitol of the world” to fully focus on music hadn’t escaped me. I remember laughing and crying about it as I drove west, away from my home. I felt a little crazy and asked myself repeatedly if I was doing the right thing.
Within the first three months of moving to Ashland I played out more than I had in three years of living in Austin. The next two and a half years was spent fully immersed in creating music with Guy and touring our music around the Pacific Northwest, the Mid-West and Hawaii. Any doubt that I may have carried with me on my journey, as to whether or not I made the right choice in moving away from Austin to focus on music, was put to rest when I visited home this last time. Rad and his roommates hosted a live concert in their house for me and my very dear friend, Nikki Jensen. The response was overwhelming, both old friends and new faces reflecting back to me what I had known deep inside all those years ago, sitting at the edge of my bed. Music lives here, in my heart. All I had to do was open it up and let it out.