This article is essentially tongue in cheek. It’s definitely not meant to be taken too seriously. It’s just some light hearted musings. I hope you have fun reading it — and thinking about some of the questions it may raise 🙂
People are always talking about teachers. And they definitely have my sympathy. I don’t think I’d have the patience to work with groups of kids like that. But in my view, musician’s as a whole are arguably the most underpaid workers in the developed world.
“Work!?” you say indignantly. “That’s not work.”
Well, I invite you to attempt learning to play an instrument with even a modicum of ability — and then get back to me.
Then to develop and refine those skills to a professional level.
Not to mention all the costs of various tuitions and mentoring, equipment and recording, photos, websites, press, etc.
And there’s no union. No strikes. No benefits. No retirement fund. Many musicians need to take other jobs in order to help pay the bills.
Even the musician’s who are “big” and earning a lot of money have a massive overhead with their operation.
And they don’t make that kind of money every year. And many only have a short window of that kind of money.
sidenote: “They’re fools!” you mutter under your breath. “They should’ve thought about that before starting.”
A businessperson who creates a successful business that is more “utilitarian” is probably many many times wealthier than even the wealthiest musician.
For the sake of this discussion, let’s take a person who manufactures and distributes toilet paper on a large scale.
“Well,” you say “we can’t live without toilet paper! The person who does that deserves to make more money than a musician!”
That would seem to be true. But on closer examination, is it?
Human’s have survived — thrived even — for thousands of years without commercial toilet paper.
Who knows for certain what people have used. But they got by. Even a few old handkerchiefs done separtately in the wash would do the trick quite well.
Probably even better since there aren’t any perfumes or chemicals and bleach on them.
And have you checked the price of toilet paper recently? And because of convenience we are now conditioned to believe that we can’t live without it.
To be fair, I very much appreciate toilet paper. I have nothing against it. I’m just thinking about things, is all.
Music. A world without music. That would be a very flat world. Almost as bad as a world without flowers or colour.
Although nothing can beat nature and her Golden Silence, music is humankind’s most eloquent statement of rapture.
Music comes in many forms — and some forms would even be called noise pollution by some.
sidenote: As I sit here typing, a car drives by playing classic rock. Earlier, several other cars were playing hip hop, reggae and “turbo pop.” Cool 🙂
But to those with ears to hear, it is the sound of angels in the heavens.
Perhaps there is music in a particular form that does that for you. Uplifts you. Even makes your life worthwhile in those moments. Helps you grab onto some higher emotions than the ones that had hold of you before you engaged with the music.
Imagine living in a world without singing, dancing, celebration, storytelling or music?
Yes, it could be done. But in my opinion, we’d be much duller. I don’t think it could happen. We may not survive. Nature is so beautiful! Not only do we want to see Her beauty, we want to emulate it with our art! It’s a form of worship.
Even if we manage to survive our current planetary crises and continue to evolve — and some kind of new world develops — one that is beyond our ability to even imagine right now, music will play an important role.
And this new imaginary future world is so much less harsh than our current version. People are more loving, tolerant and less afraid. There’s less to be afraid of.
And perhaps we communicate telepathically all the time.
There would still be music. Because music exists in the human heart. The songs we listen to are merely reflections of what already exists in our hearts.
When you hear a song that uplifts or energizes you, it’s merely reflecting back to you that which already exists in your heart.
Our music is a few steps removed from the “actuality” — it’s an abstraction of that inherent joy.
But it’s really freakin’ cool! Try singing. Really let it ou! Doesn’t that feel good? Or bang a beat on something. Your car steering wheel, your kitchen table, whatever.
And in this imaginary future world of milk and honey, there will be a plant that grows in abundance with soft silky leaves that organically disintegrate leaving no odour — within minutes of use. And it replaces toilet paper.
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Hi. My name is Davidson and I’m a music addict. This is maybe dramatizing things — and I certainly don’t mean to make light of people who are involved in 12 Step programs. Been there.
What I mean is that I make music because I love it so freakin’ much! I love to sing. I love playing guitar. I love creating meaningful lyrics and cool melodies.
Why do I do it? I’m on a mission from my soul.
It’s a part of my DNA.
Due to the nature of the world we live in, it’s not always “practical.” I mean in terms of cash. Yes, there are people who are doing really well in the music biz.
But the fact is, most people in the world are busy — and couldn’t care less about my new song or album.
I’ve spent times in my life where I’ve worked really hard trying to change that. My main incentive was that I wanted to play more music. Might as well try to get the earth to spin the other way. Talk about carrying the weight of the world!
Now, I can’t say I don’t care — but I definitely care much less than I used to. I do it for myself. I want my music to be as honest as possible. Hopefully that will resonate with people and that will be my service to them.
This is not to say that I’m not like anyone else and people’s appreciation of my work is not important. It’s awesome! But I look at it more like “gravy” or “icing.” I do my best not to expect it.
When I was a teenager and I consciously or subconciously decided to be a musician for my career, I didn’t do it to be famous. Even though I suffered from incredibly low self esteem at the time.
We’ve all been branded by some trauma or another during our formative years. Some worse, some less so. Mine was probably leaning toward the “worse” side of the spectrum.
That’s a big part of the reason why I ended up homeless, on the streets and on my own in a new city (Toronto) at the tender age of 17. ‘Nother story, ‘nother time.
That’s probably also what led me to have my mid life crisis in my late twenties. I started asking all the important questions that most avoid. “What am I really doing with my life? What is love? What is happiness? What’s the point of it all? Who/what do I really want to be/do? etc.” I couldn’t avoid them if I wanted to survive.
I really and truly don’t care about being famous or “special.” I just wanna be myself, work hard, and be able to pay the bills with a sense of ease and lightness. Who doesn’t?
Perhaps there are people out there who are motivated by fame and being special more than by the process of creating and playing music. I don’t know.
I only know that for me, I don’t seem to have a choice. I simply love making music. And I love learning about music. I love growing my skills.
Down To The Crossroads
I’ve been down to the crossroads several times in my life thus far. Where I’ve been on my knees or even in fetal position — asking if I’m on the right path. Because it’s so damn hard!
Sometimes I wish I didn’t love making music so much so I could just concern myself with “getting by” and then “getting away” when I’ve had enough of “getting by.”
The grass is always greener.
Whenever I’ve tried walking away from music, something deep inside me knows better. And I know that if I want to respect myself, to be myself, I can’t.
Regardless of whether or not the world ever pays attention to my work. Or on what scale.
I’m mostly at peace within myself now. I now know that come hell or high water, I will do my best to continue to build upon my body of work.
It’s taken me 15 years to get to the point where I could get the financing and resources together in order to record 5 of my songs in a way that I’m very proud of.
I’m not going to stop now. I’ve been writing songs since I was a teenager — and I’m writing new songs now. To me, they’re the best songs I’ve ever written.
And I’m getting better all the time. Better guitar player. Better singer. Better arranger. Better with my lyrics.
In The Past
In the now distant past, I felt very fortunate to have landed a job as the guitar teacher at a few music stores. This led to my “falling into” having my own teaching business with guitar and piano.
I thought “I’ve got the perfect day job!”
However, the reality of trying to live on “poverty wages” in the city of Toronto began to wear me down over the years.
Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe the world owes me a living.
And even if I have to flip burgers at MacDonald’s (God forbid!) in order to eat and have a roof over my head I will continue to build my body of work.
Before I graduated summa cum laude from Humber College Jazz in Toronto I worked many hours doing hard labour. Digging basements, moving furniture, cleaning crew, prep cook, short order cook.
Whatever. That’s the past.
I Have Good Karma!
Fortunately, I’m still teaching and enjoying interacting and supporting my current students with their musical goals and growth.
I’ve also managed to develop a couple of other side income streams (such as some session work and helping my wife Mary with her businesses).
So for now, I am definitely a lucky person. I’ve been able to significantly close the gap between who the world wants me to be and who I truly am.
I’ve been able to somehow hold onto and nurture my artistic vision through thick and thin. I’m very grateful for that.
Maybe I’m just stubborn and hard headed.
Author Steven Pressfield, in his book The War of Art says this is a good thing. Alright — I’ll take it! 🙂
In the old days record companies and publishers had Artist Development. I guess I’ve been working my own Artist Development program all along.
Most people aim to take the freeway in order to develop their goals in life. I took to the side roads and stopped at all the villages along the way. No worries. It’s all good — I now know I can take the freeway if I choose.
In A Nutshell
I’m simply going to do my best to continue creating more songs. There are still many obstacles ahead such as financing projects and making the time for them to get off the ground, but my spirit feels good.
A little scared, but good 🙂 I know my true happiness is on the inside independent of circumstances. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to be, do or have things.
Just helps me maintain sanity in an insane world.
I am becoming ever more my true self in a world where we are taught not to be.
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This story is all about practicing persistence. But Life is sometimes funny, no? It cannot be grasped by the mind. Just when you think you’ve got it, it wiggles and squishes and morphs away into a new shape.
Practicing persistence can actually bring up opportunities to practice other qualities such as patience, compassion and humour for oneself. Non-attachment to the outcome is also key.
All blended with passionately doing one’s best to create the best outcome possible, of course. Whew!
Last week I was hired to do some electric guitar parts by a producer from Los Angeles. He had a technical request for me. A recording technique that would involve equipment I don’t have in my studio.
Being a guy who enjoys “over delivering” in these types of situations, I went out and rented the device. At the rental shop with djent (really hardcore progressive metal) music blaring in the background, the clerks couldn’t seem to get any of the devices they had on hand working.
They finally opened up a brand new one out of the box, connected it to their computer and it seemed to be compatible. I took it home (including driving this was 2 1/2 hours later) and discovered I still had to go through a few steps to get it “installed” with my computer.
Finally it turned out that one of the hardware components on the unit wasn’t working. This was after quite a bit of troubleshooting on my part. Oh, and did I mention there was a deadline with this job?
I emailed the producer and explained the scenario. He got back to me with some troubleshooting suggestions of his own. I’d already attempted them so it didn’t change anything.
He then said he still really wanted my playing on the recording. So I was just going to do it with the equipment and device I normally use. But he wanted it by the end of the next day.
By then it was the end of my day — I’d have to get back to things “tomorrow.” I had some students coming in to work with and had no more time for recording.
It may not sound like much here — but it was kind of a frustrating day. Hours of work and nothing to show for it! This all took place on a Thursday.
And I was feeling a bit anxious knowing I still had to deliver a professional level performance in just a few hours of time the following day.
I had a Zumba class to help my wife with Friday morning, and it was also our only opportunity to get some laundry done at the local laundromat. That Friday evening was our regularly scheduled date night.
I wanted my cake and to eat it too! I wanted to deliver the goods, exercise and have fun, get my laundry done AND hang out with my wife!
Well, as rough as the previous day had been? Friday was it’s equal in terms of being smooth! 🙂 I learned the song, laid down all the parts (rhythm guitar and lead solos) and gave the producer more than what he needed — all within 90 minutes!!
My wife also happens to be a Reiki master and was actually giving a Reiki treatment to one of her clients at that point — they were next door to my studio — so I was kind of restrained in terms of being overly loud. But it all worked out!
In conclusion: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. The very next day or some day soon, Life will quite possibly give you an invisible helping hand!
Some of you may also be able to add TGIF to my conclusion! 😉
One of my favourite songs on my new CD is a love song for eternal soul mates. It’s called “Hey Mary Hey” and is the title song from the album.
The inspiration for it came from my wife Mary. Actually, it came about because I wanted to tell the story of how we met and fell in love.
Some people say it has a really cool retro 70’s flavour along with a West Coast vibe. I certainly didn’t set out to write a song with that vibe — I simply sat down with my spanish guitar one day and started getting some cool musical ideas.
As the musical ideas developed, I realized I wanted to come up with some equally captivating lyrics.
I had the sudden thought that it’d be great to share the story of how Mary and I met. I wanted to inspire people with the message of true love and eternal soul mates. Especially in this day and age where so many couples end up on the rocks because of egos clashing.
Rather than write about the tangible day to day details of how we met, I decided to make it about my subjective and soulful experience. It really was (and is) quite a magical and mystical experience for me.
Before Meeting My Eternal Soulmate (Mary)
After having had a couple of long term relationships and done plenty of dating in my past, I had decided to step back from everything in the relationship arena for a while.
sidenote: This ended up being about a 6 year period.
I resolved to myself that I was going to stay single and happy until/unless I met the person who truly qualified as my eternal soulmate.
I also really purified my lifestyle at this point. I dropped drinking and smoking, started eating much healthier food, doing yoga daily — and I also began a daily meditation practice.
sidenote: Many years later, I still live by this protocol although it’s morphed and changed a little. I still don’t drink or smoke, I continue to make healthy food choices, but I now do more vigorous forms of exercise such as weights and Zumba. And I still meditate daily — although it’s now mostly about letting go of negativity when it arises.
Yeah. A Song About Eternal Soulmates.
Along with all this I was of course working on my music daily. I also went to bookstores, coffeeshops and movies somewhat regularly. Just to get me out of my usual “monk like” routine.
I was open to meeting women — I knew if I wanted to meet my eternal soulmate I would have to put myself “out there” — but I wasn’t attached or fixated on anyone in particular.
I now seemed to have a great radar system that I could trust. I chalked it up to experience plus my new lifestyle. I would simply chat, perhaps flirt a bit, and know somehow that was all that was necessary. In the past I would have been more in my head about it.
Being in my head, I probably would’ve followed through on getting dates, etc. Even though in my intuitive knowingness I was aware that they weren’t the person for me. When you’re in your head how can you hear your intuition?
In some cases I actually did go on dates — but with no expectations. And the dates? Awkward or not much fun.
By the way, I was also affirming daily that my eternal soulmate existed and was in my life. Then I simply trusted, let go and went about my day.
I could feel Mary’s presence even though I didn’t yet know who or where she was. I simply knew. I didn’t know how long it would take, but I trusted. I was in this 100%. I knew she existed because I existed. It was a powerful and uncanny experience to say the least. The opposite of mundane.
Psychic Readings And Synchronicity
At this time I was teaching guitar and piano for my bread and butter. I didn’t have a studio back then, so I used to travel to my students’ homes.
One of the mothers of a student of mine was a fairly renowned psychic in the area. She offered to pay for some of her son’s lessons with a ‘trade” of a lesson for a reading. Since she was a single mother, I thought it would make it easier for her.
Besides, I thought it might be pretty cool. And I definitely had some questions! It’s sometimes tricky doing readings for yourself.
She described Mary to the tee. Her situation, her appearance, that she lived right in my neighbourhood, some of the challenges that we would face when we first got together.
I thought, “Sounds good. Hmm…I wonder if it’s true?’
These kinds of messages came through 2 or 3 readings. Whenever I would see my psychic friend on the street she would ask me “Have you met your mystery woman yet?”
I’d reply that I hadn’t. And I’d also wonder and sense fleeting doubts — because these readings happened over a 2 year period. That’s a long enough time for you to start doubting your intuitive feelings and start listening to the (negative) voices in your head again! Luckily I had my meditation and fitness tools to support with warding off the negativity and to keep me on track 🙂
I figured my eternal soulmate was still in my life energetically speaking — but that the reading from my friend wasn’t accurate.
Along Came Mary!
Back in those days — being a bachelor — I used to devote my Sundays to watching NFL football and golf on TV. It was my way of both relaxing and being inspired by excellence. Tiger Woods was in his prime, and it was amazing to watch his miraculous golf shots.
I would go to the local butcher and get some organic free range Turkey breast and make myself a sandwich to watch my sports with.
One day I ended up standing behind a woman in line. I recognized her from the neighbourhood New Age bookstore where I used to hang out and do Yoga classes a few years prior.
I struck up a brief conversation with her, and we parted ways. Although I did briefly wonder why I felt such a strong “buzzing” in my energy field.
I went home and watched sports and forgot about it.
This was in the autumn. Later that winter, actually between Christmas and New Year’s, I was in the local Health Food store getting a few supplies. And guess who was there shopping? The same woman! From now on, I’ll refer to her as Mary 🙂
She was having a conversation with the owners wife. I overheard a bit of the conversation where they were mentioning New Moons.
Since I regularly chatted with the owner and his wife, I spontaneously jumped in with my own comment about how I liked to start new things with the cycles of the moon.
I don’t recall exactly what we talked about after that, but Mary tells me that as soon as I mentioned my awareness of the moon cycles, something inside of her really perked up. She felt a strong internal shift or click.
It just so happens that I was moving on New Year’s Day to a new and exciting place. I told Mary how excited I was about the move. I also found that out she was (still is) a Reiki Master and crystal healer as well as being a psychic.
We discussed things for a while, and I said I’d love to come in for a Reiki session. I told her it sounded just like what I needed at the time. A great way to start off the New Year.
Now, at this point, I didn’t realize I was attracted to Mary in “that way.” I just knew I felt drawn to go see her for Reiki. It felt good and it felt right.
I’m stuck at this point in the story because things get pretty personal. Suffice it to say that we hooked up. We had some rough obstacles in the beginning. A lot was due to our families different cultures as well as some other things that are too personal for me to feel comfy with sharing here.
But we overcame them together 🙂 And 9 years later (or more, depending on when you’re reading this) I love her more than ever!
Sidenote: If you’re a skeptic on all of this “woo-woo” stuff, that’s fine. I can operate just fine out of the rational thinking part of my mind too.
But if you’re like me, and your inner vision is awake, you know beyond words that there is a silent, formless Divine Presence behind Life. Consciousness didn’t arise from space dust that randomly appeared out of nowhere — rather awareness and light (presence) give life to and shape matter.
Don’t believe my words. Simply take it into consideration. Next time you’re in nature, notice the energy of the plants or stars or the sky. And just consider. Don’t think. Feel your way into it.
Do You Have A Soulmate — Or Dream Of One?
I’ve been told by Mary that there are different schools of thought as far as the terminology goes. Some of the terms in this field are: soulmate, twin flames, eternal soulmate, karmic soulmate. And everyone seems to have different opinions on how to define the different categories.
For me the terminology doesn’t really matter. I only know that Mary is the most accurate reflection of Love I have ever experienced in this world. I am simply grateful and amazed everyday by her loving presence in my life. I must have some really great karma!
What are your thoughts on soul mates? Have you met yours? Do you dream of meeting yours? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. And if you like this story, please share it with your friends.
If you’ve been following my story for a little while, you may remember that one of the main catalysts that propelled me onto my current path (with a brand new CD) was CBC Radio. (For any international readers, CBC is the Canadian version of the BBC in the UK).
At that time, (I thought) I was content to simply write and record my songs with the intention of eventually licensing them to film and television.
My wife Mary had been playing some of my songs in her Zumba class — and the response was terrific.
After several enthusiastic people from her class suggested CBC to me, I finally got the message. That’s how the cards laid out to inspire me to reach out to CBC.
Back in the late fall of 2014, I got in touch with the head of the CBC Music Resources Office, Mark Rheaume. Mark got back to me. He is such a genuine and cool guy. He always got back to me straight away — and with helpful and clear information. A very supportive and great contact for me in the music industry.
He’d listened to a couple of my tracks and he told me that they would definitely fit with many of the shows carried by the CBC. However, he also suggested I have an album — or at least an EP — this way, my story would be a little more compelling for the people who had the shows.
So I thought, “Why not? Ok— I guess I’m making a CD.”
This of course led to an impromptu fundraiser and my EP of 5 songs is now complete. It’s available in my store as a physical CD with cool artwork or on i-tunes.
Update: CBC Radio and My Music
Mark got back to me recently regarding the status of my music. It’s now officially uploaded into the CBC music library. Woo-hoo! Step one accomplished.
Mark also gave me the contact info for all the relevant CBC radio shows in the country who can possibly use my style of music. He suggested I contact the shows in Toronto and encourage them to play my music. The shows also need to play Canadian artists — that can definitely help my cause.
I will keep you posted as I move forward with that!
Another cool thing is that if I ever broaden my base of operations beyond Toronto and play other towns and cities, I will have the contact info for the producers of the radio shows in those towns!
Where does a song come from? How does it come to be? Well, I don’t know for sure how songs happen so I’m not gonna try. There are plenty of books explaining the technical side of things.
I am going to relate a cool story about my most recent song, though…
I had a seed of an idea for a song over Christmas holidays.
So I fired up my recording gear and laid down some basic tracks.
Rhythm guitar with a drum loop and some vocals.
After having some fun jamming, I promptly went on with whatever other things I had going on that day.
Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained
Soon after — perhaps even that same evening — while brushing my teeth before bed of course — I had a melodic motif pop into my head. The words were “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
This became the title and hook of the song. People tell me they can’t stop singing it! An idea that popped into my head from the nonlinear quantum “womb” fully formed. All I had to do was nurture it along until it grew, cut the umbilical cord and send it out into the world.
Over the next several weeks I spent up to about 80 hours (perhaps more) refining the idea and my musical arrangement.
When I had what I thought was a pretty decent mix, I sent it to my man Gary Gray in LA. He got back to me with some constructive criticism. Not always easy to accept at face value — but it can be helpful to have outside opinions.
At times, Gary challenges me to dig even more out of myself than I thought possible.
He said it was reminiscent of the soul music from Philly and Motown in the 70’s.
Over the next few days as I proceeded to make some of the changes and tweaks he had suggested, I pondered where indeed had the song come from.
It hit me the other day. Brushing my teeth… after breakfast this time 🙂
Black Magic Woman By Fleetwood Mac?
The other influences were “Black Magic Woman” by Fleetwood Mac. Yep. Some cool trivia for you. I absolutely love Peter Green’s guitar playing and songwriting!
I also love the later version by Santana with the latin vibe. I researched and found out that the intro to Santana’s version was featured on a song called “Gypsy Queen” by an artist named Gabor Szabo.
Very cool! There just so happens to be a character in my song who is a Gypsy Crone. You’ll hear it in the song when you listen 🙂
Some other influences became apparent to me as well. As a guitar nerd, I’ve studied many masters over the years.
There’s definitely some “soul jazz” flavour on this song. Guitar masters like Kenny Burrell, Grant Green, etc. come to mind.
Note: from this point on I’ll simply refer to it as NVNG (Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained)
The song itself is based on a 12 bar minor blues structure — guys like Albert King with his great song “As The Years Go Passing By” is an example.
There’s one more important musical influence. I have a strong connection to the Roma culture through family. And I love their music. So I put a few touches of gypsy flavoured notes in the song. You can hear it mostly in the intro, the guitar solo and the outro.
Besides the gypsy character in the lyrics, there is a definite philosophy being addressed in the storyline.
It essentially suggests to open to receive inspiration, and then take action on that inspiration without being attached to the results.
In the east this is outlined in texts such as the Bagavad Gita, and is also quite apparent in the teachings of Jesus.
Here in the west, some call it the Law of the Farm.
Wow! It’s really cool to analyze one of my songs like that. I never would’ve consciously realized a lot of these points had Gary not mentioned to me about the Philly soul vibe.
I was conscious of a few of the points of course — I ain’t just thrown’ sh&t against the wall here and hoping it’ll stick! Lol
Take a listen and see for yourself. If you enjoy it, please feel free to share with friends.