I stumbled across this podcast due to the fact the host Rich Roll is an ultra runner with quite an inspirational story himself. (You can find out more in his book ‘Finding Ultra’ – which is on my reading pile). I enjoy listening to podcasts as they can be consumed easily when travelling/shopping/mowing the lawn etc. Hence with some travel for work planned this week I subscribed to catch up with his back catalogue of interviews. Coincidentally however, the latest guests he has had on are two very talented guitarists from Mexico: Rodrigo y Gabriella.
When I saw this it was very much a ‘shut up and take my money’ decision to listen. I love running and I love guitars (while it could be argued I don’t excel at either … I enjoy them all the same 🙂 !)
This episode has an interesting format where the guests perform some music at stages throughout the interview. I recommend just listening to enjoy the music.
That said – this episode is dripping with gems of inspiration and advice. It has has something for everyone, talented guitarists from Mexico, a rags to riches story, Ultrarunning, Metallica, Veganism, guitar design and innovation, meditation and managing the mind, advice for young musicians getting started.
Without giving too much away, if it were not for these young musicians doing what they love and busking in Dublin they would never have been set on a course for their rise to fame. From busking to pay for food to opening for Muse at their first stadium shows and performing in the White House for the Obamas ! Just with two classical guitars and their sheer brilliance!
Busking is a unique performance situation where you really do not have any control over the environment/people/elements. You get almost instant feedback about whether you are well received (or not). And it is quite humbling to be looked over and ignored, however it makes the appreciation and recognition from passers by all the more rewarding.
If I am honest I have only busked a handful of occasions and I was immediately outside my comfort zone, feeling very uneasy initially, however I left each time with the familiar post performance buzz!
There is a stigma attached to busking though, it is seen perhaps as a form of begging by some. As a result some would not ‘lower’ themselves to the level of performing on the street. Pride gets in the way.
Interestingly the same student that first introduced me to these two guitarists is a talented singer songwriter himself. However, just not getting ‘out there’ (in my opinion) and sharing his talents, despite his desire to have a career in music. Every opportunity taken to perform and share your talents sends ripples out like throwing stones in a lake. The more ripples the more you actively increase your network, your circle, your fan base and ultimately increase the odds of meeting the right people and ‘make it’ – whatever ‘it’ might be.
I’m not saying that if you go busking you’ll meet Obama, however you need to ask yourself: are you doing ‘everything’ you can to get yourself heard?
Or are you unknowingly stuck in the ‘I can’t because’ mode where you just focus on all the obstacles in your way (real or imaginary but presumably many of your own making)… “I can’t because I haven’t got this bit of kit, I can’t because I need this or that, I can’t because I’m not good enough, I can’t because what if they don’t like it…..”- I guess you could spend a lifetime in that mode and never get anywhere.
Focus on what you CAN do. What have you got and how you can use it. Start sending ripples out and doing what you CAN.
The only way you’ll get better at anything is by doing it. Learn from mistakes, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.
Switch from the “I can’t stagnation swamp” and focus on your “I can opportunity lake” – that sounds like a much nicer place to be. Cheesy but I like the imagery! TM pending 😉
Whatever happens, at the end of the day when you ask yourself “did I do everything I could”- I wonder if you’ll be more positive in your appraisal.
After thought- there is still plenty I want to do to move my creativity projects forward, success for me in this area wouldn’t be filling stadiums – although that’d be nice. At this point in my life I’d love to write and record a complete solo EP that I am proud of. Now I need to stop procrastinating and start writing.
[image ref: screen shot taken of Rich Roll YouTube page – I recommend you check it out and subscribe while you’re there!]