It has been some months since my triumphant first gig. 5 months to the day, come to think of it. Not much has changed. My badge for landing a gig on Nashville’s famous Music Row is pinned right to my ego. I’ve only attempted to play open mics 2 or 3 times since. Can I quit now?
No really, it would be nice. Maybe I could start a company? I’ve always thought that would be interesting. I’d like to do some travel…maybe live in New York finally or on a beach. I could decorate my apartment, like, forreal!
Furniture marketing teams everywhere are personally attacking me with clickbait. Help.
After dreaming a bit more, I look out the window. What do I see? Nashville trees. Nashville cars. Nashville buildings. Dammit, I’m in Music City! This is not where I came to do crafts or run away from!
A business contact recently told me that the secret ingredient to anything was momentum. On his arms were faded tattoos peeking out from under a short sleeve button up, the kind you can wear at a co-working space and then to a bbq. He was over 50, and had a 4 month old baby with his new foreign wife. He lived in Dubai for 10 years. He made his money doing multi-million dollar hospital deals. I believed him. I dunno, sometimes you just get the feeling someone has seen a lot of shit.
Not long after that I was in an Uber applying this new momentum theory. During obligatory small talk, my driver told me he just got a job as a new artist manager with a small company: his dream job. I weaved my musical desires into our 11 minute ride to see how he would react. He took the bait, gave me a vote of confidence, and before leaving I asked if I could buy him a beer in exchange for some brain picking. He said his name was a colored food item so I will call him Black Bean for the sake of this story.
Black Bean and I had a nice time. We sat at the bar of a sports bar in West End as Vanderbilt students played ping-pong in the corner. ESPN distracted our gazes through effortful conversation. He showed me his sleeve tattoos honoring his brother. He told me about his instagram philosophy and how he schedules his posts. He asked about my sound. He said his company helps people “get off the ground” and ” get plugged in” by putting them on a growth plan. He didn’t sell me on it, but I was begging to be sold. He was just a nice dude, and I was just a person who said I was an artist with no recordings, no online presence, and no plan. After 2 hours we parted ways, agreed we were new friends, and I went home and searched the names he gave me. We follow each other on instagram now; he posts a lot of videos talking with a hip hop accent I didn’t know he had.
The days following drinks with Black Bean the Uber Driver, I worried that the fibers of my mental health were getting weak. Was this an all time low? I talked myself back into thinking it was a good idea because of the genuine kindness of the exchange. The redemption of the Black Bean saga was the realization of my own momentum. I don’t mean that it was moment-ous, rather, the “objects in motion tend to stay in motion” rule.
I sat in the back of an Uber and told a complete stranger I was an artist. I hadn’t told myself that in awhile.
Cheers, friends! To the momentum that lives in us and what we do with it.