September 26, 2016 § Leave a comment
This year seems to be full of birthdays and anniversaries for me: I turned 40 in May, and this September marks not only 25 years of music-making for me, but also 10 years of only dedicating myself to music on a professional level!
25 years ago, at the age of 15, just as I was beginning high school, I managed to convince my parents to buy me a classical guitar – THIS guitar which you see below, and can hear on my second, third and fourth albums. I had been in love with the Beatles for about 2 years and that summer of 1991, I saw two guys in Copenhagen doing cover versions of the Beatles on an acoustic guitar. I’d never seen anyone play live and I was fascinated, I literally could have stayed there forever, and on that day I KNEW that I needed to do this too.
I don’t think it occurred to me that I could make my own music, and yet that’s what happened right from the start. I took classical guitar lessons, but my teacher also gave electric guitar lessons and the day I heard another pupil playing electric guitar, I knew that I wanted to have a go at it too!
With those two guitars began a long musical journey, and I’m amazed and grateful that I’ve managed to keep making music for so long, and hope that this journey will continue for many more years to come!
But this September also marks another anniversary: 10 years of becoming a full-time musician. From 2002 to 2006, I taught English in a high-school, and in early 2006 I asked for a one-year sabbatical in order to dedicate myself to music fully, at least for that short amount of time. It was initially refused, then granted at the last minute in late August 2006, and I remember literally jumping all over the place when I got the news. Had it not been granted, I’ll never know if I would have had the guts to resign there and then, but something tells me that I may have, as my situation made no sense (I was getting so many live offers and had to turn down almost all of them, and I ended up doing surreal things like going to play in LA on a weekend and coming back to Paris to teach on a Tuesday morning…).
In June 2007 the Ministry refused to renew the sabbatical (theoretically you’re allowed up to 3 years in a row), so I officially resigned, since I was left with no other alternative than this drastic choice. Ironically enough, it was shortly after all this that I started to feel overwhelmed by some aspects of being a professional musician (some of you may remember my epic posts about this, back when I was still deep in my music-making hiatus). Truth be told, some things haven’t changed and I still feel the need to slow down regularly, but I’m also happy to say that some things have changed for the better: having a very supportive label like Thrill Jockey has really helped, and also gaining a sense of perspective thanks to the passing of time and the many talks I’ve had with other musicians and other creative artists, and seeing that basically we all struggle more or less with the same issues.
In any case, I’d like to end this post by saying that it really bugs me that we live in a society where the possibility of making a living out of your passion is not emphasized more often: now I’m not saying that it’s an easy path and that anybody can be successful at it, but I truly think that few things beat being able to spend your life working on something you feel really passionate about, and it’s *always* worth a try. For me it’s been music, but with the other passions I have in my non-music-making life (it was cooking and ceramics at one point, and now it’s birdwatching, sewing and yoga), I do see that many other individuals are “making a living” from their own passion. In July I went on a cetacean-watching boat trip, and to think that there are people who spend their life on a boat looking for and studying dolphins and whales, about 2 hours from where I live … now that just blows my mind! So YES to dreams and making them real! :-)))
As always, thanks to YOU for being there to listen to my music and reading my words! :-))) And thank you Isabel Dublang for the beautiful pictures!