I don’t get out much these days. Living on a tropical island is making me too content. For instance, I could easily go walk or take photos anywhere I want, but I don’t because I can just walk out my back door and walk on a gorgeous, 10-mile long beach with some of the most amazing sunsets on the planet. Most people work half their waking hours to be able to get here for a short vacation, and when they do, most play on the beach all day and then pull up a chair and watch the sun set every night. Why go anywhere else?
Aside from some occasional social activity due to the fact that I live at a house concert venue with some good friends, I don’t have much of a social life at the moment. And there’s plenty of culture off this island, but I’ve lived so many places and done so many things, I get this “been there, done that,” feeling about almost everything these days. The good news is, A) it’s giving me time to be introspective and decide what really matters, and B) I’m still growing because I’m studying and practicing a craft.
I tend to vacillate between hermit and socialite. In 2012 I decided to do music full time. I locked myself in my cottage in St. Petersburg for 9 months to write and record my first solo releases and to work up 3 hours worth of cover songs. Then in 2013 I spent 6 months “out in the world” on the road. Then I spent 6 months in Key West. While I was there I was learning about video production and producing a video series called “Trop Rock Odyssey.” Spring of 2014 I came to Anna Maria Island to relax in peace and quiet for a few months so I could write some songs before going on another summer-long performing and recording tour. But some mysterious dizzy spells put the kibosh on that.
So I finagled a way to stay here on the Island. It turned out to be the best decision of my life. After spending 6 months writing and recording full time, I knew I had found my calling – not as a performer per se, but as a writer/composer/producer of recordings. The bare minimum of freelance creative work that I still do pays my bills and affords me the opportunity to spend my days creating something worthy of my self-respect, which I don’t feel I’ve truly done in the past. I’ve done some big things, but always to make money for someone else so I could do something else. Now I’m doing that something else full time – creating music.
The music I create is arguably still rookie league, but what I’m doing today is not about today. It’s about 3 to 5 years from now when I’m no longer a rookie. This is all just study and practice and training time. The idea is to just keep pumping out music and building up a catalog of songs. Every day I pitch songs to music libraries who list opportunities to get them placed in commercials, TV shows, and movies. If I get a bite, I would earn an up-front licensing fee which can be anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, plus some royalties, which, depending on the show or movie, could be anywhere from zilch to megabucks. Usually closer to zilch for a rookie. But the idea is to eventually be able to make a living through a combination of frequent licensing fees and on-going residual income from royalties, supplemented by selling my own music directly to fans or through an indie label and doing occasional performances.
The plan is, after a few more years of writing, composing, arranging, and recording, to be producing drop-dead gorgeous music and to be in demand as a writer/composer. I don’t care if I become rich and famous for this. In fact I would prefer not to be. I truly love my sometimes quiet, sometimes adventurous, little pond life. The goal, instead of working a job or building a business to make money so I can do the things I want to do, is to just take a shortcut directly to spending my time doing the things I like to do, which are, in no particular order, write songs, produce recordings, perform, enjoy nature, make beautiful pictures and videos, go on adventures and be with good music-and-art-loving people, and to not have to answer to anyone for anything. That’s what today is about.