I’m not exactly sure when I decided I wanted to be a songwriter. Perhaps, it was after all of the family gatherings during the holidays, and listening to them sing love songs. Or, maybe, it was while I was watching "Supernatural" and one of the greatest rock songs of all time started plying, "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas. Maybe, it was ingrained in me from birth, something I could never fight, even if I tried. The decision felt divine, it felt right, and in truth, it felt wonderful. Regardless of the point of inception, I did, indeed, decide to be a songwriter.
I live in Chicago, and the first thing people typically ask upon meeting someone new is, “What do you do for a living?” In Chicago, the answer defines us; classifies us into a stereotypical category, so we may be defined as the “greedy businessman,” the “bleeding heart humanitarian,” the “naughty nurse,” the “spiteful supermodel” or otherwise.
I fall under the classification of the “struggling songwriter,” and people like me are often thought to be free spirited, having low regards to materialistic possessions and we are always stereotyped to lack practicality and are, as a result, financially broke most of the time. Not to say that it isn't true. Most of us have next to no job security; our livelihood depends on our next gig, and it depends on our audience, it depends on our luck.
We are never certain when or from where our next paycheck is coming. A truly good survival job for a songwriter is the only way one can stay fed and continue funding this strenuous life choice that will eventually, and hopefully, pay off. Unfortunately, decent survival jobs are really hard to come by. It’s especially true in the major city, where huge pools of competition are fighting each other for the most flexible job positions.
We dedicate almost all our time to writing music, to create something new and meaningful, we spend all our money on our art (‘cause we believe in it and want to share it), and that should be enough, right? No, the struggle never stops. We don’t sleep, and when we do, we are kept awake by the fear that we may never reach our dreams. But no matter how hard we get “knocked down,” we never give up, never surrender. For we can never stop our drive or our passion; they rule us; they are us.
And when the time comes, I hope to look back upon my life with a sense of pride. For I have lived and I have loved; I have won and I have lost; I have had my fill of pleasure; and in the end I did what mattered.