I’ve been on the road for six months now, and I’ve played over twenty sold out shows for an audience of hundreds of people. All that at twenty two. If anyone was to tell me, back in the 2000s when I was just trying to figure out my music, that this would one day be possible, I would’ve scoffed at your face, even as I was working towards this very thing, because that’s how impossible it felt. But here we are. It just goes to show that no dreams are dreams not worth following, except if your dream is to jump off buildings, in which case, please don’t pursue your dreams.
If you are lucky enough to realize what you want to do in life, then it’s always wise to pursue that dream with everything that you have, and you might just end up doing exactly that. And take it from someone who did exactly that, years later, looking back you’ll be glad that you didn’t give up during the days of struggle and the times when it seemed impossible. Because there is nothing more fulfilling to me, than going up on the stage and playing beats that I composed and have the crowd go wild over THAT.
I was born and brought up in Nashville, Tennessee, which has always been the musical hub of America, but both my parent were lawyer and pretty much everyone else in my family was detached from the music industry, so despite of living in the musical hub of the country, I almost had no exposure to the music scene around me. In 2006, when I was about ten years old, my cousin who was visiting us for the summer, took me to a local summer festival, and it was there that I was first introduced to local music. I don’t remember much from there except the opening set by a local musician who, I was pretty sure at that time, was going to break all records ever. Eventually, he didn’t break all, or any, records, but it was his performance on stage that instilled a deep wish in me to become a musician.
Initially, my parents believed I was going through a phase that apparently every teen boy goes through, but since then, I started gong to as many local concerts they would take me to. By thirteen, I had started making up my own tunes on a guitar, but I had no way to release them out in the world. By fifteen I was playing small gigs at local pubs and cafes in hoped of being discovered by some record label, but so far it wasn’t working out. By the time, I turned 16, I wanted to do much more with my music than be discovered by a record label and make music according to their demands. At that time, independent platforms like iTunes and YouTube were also gaining ground so I decided to independently release music so I could have full control over what I decided to create.
It was easier said that done, though. At sixteen, even with years of saving up pocket-money, I couldn’t have afforded decent sound equipment to produce a song that would be worth launching me, and I had no experience with digital workstations. I decided to start with GarageBand, which was in its early years at that time, but it was free and easy to use. It took months of convincing, but eventually that Christmas, my parents bought me a MacBook. The benefits of the MacBook were multi-layered –
– It gave me access to GarageBand, which was essentially a whole Digital Audio Workstation, for free. In addition, GarageBand was very easy to use, right from the start. Even at beginner levels, I found it easy to figure things out as I tried to edit and record my music. Although, it was free, GarageBand was one of the best Audio workstations out there, even for strictly professional producers. And soon enough, YouTube was flooding with tutorials on functions you could perform on GarageBand.
– Setting up your equipment can be a pretty technical job, and then having to sync it with your DAW is even more time and effort consuming, but the MacBook’s plug and play excellent compatibility made it extremely easy to get right to the task of creating and cut shirt the setting-up. In artistic terms, it can be great for your creativity.
– The MacBook is an excellently durable product. I remember using the same laptop for a couple years before upgrading to newer technology. Saving money on audio equipment, and other tech meant that I could easily produce songs and therefore increase more visibility for myself. In early days of any profession like the music industry, it is very important to keep on spending as less as you can while releasing as much as you can.
– Finally, having the MacBook ensured, what apple always ensures, that the quality of whatever content I was creating was excellent. For anyone else, who is just starting out, I would highly recommend trying out the latest Mac, which now has exponentially more potential than it had at my time. I also suggest trying out GarageBand as it will definitely make the learning process very easy for you.
With the MacBook I first started learning how to edit and record songs that wouldn’t sound like I recorded them on my phone in my dad’s garage. As I saved up for more instruments and started doing heavy work, I realized I needed a more powerful computer. But the PC at my home was a windows, and there was no way my parents were gonna buy me an iMac. So far I had not exactly returned any investment they had done on my musical career. But the internet came to my rescue as always, and I came across a simple guide to install GarageBand for my windows PC. I’m attaching the link to it here.
Once I combined the efficiency of my Mac with the power of my PC, my audio workstation felt more professional than ever. When I graduated from high-school, much to my parents discomfort, I didn’t apply for any college, instead, I started working full-time on my music. Soon enough, I went from covering songs I like to releasing my original songs on iTunes and YouTube. I wish I could say that my first ever original song took off and I became famous overnight. But it didn’t happen like that. My initial releases were pretty average and barely made a difference. But I knew I had to keep working. When it started to feel useless, I would remind myself that I loved what I was doing and that was reason enough to keep doing it.
Eventually though, people started paying attention to my music. And the rest is history.
A few years later, I am touring the entire of North America, signing merch, and increasingly running into people who tell me how my music has changed their lives! I’m forever grateful for people who take out the time to buy my music and listen to eat, who show up to venues and sing along, and who wait in line for hours just to get their t-shirts signed. And to those who come to my show and imagine themselves on stage, as I did so many years ago, I’d like to remind that it’s possible. It’s very much possible, just start creating, use whatever means you can get, and keep releasing.
My advice- Make as much use of the opportunities that technology is giving you today with computers and DAW like GarageBand.