A lot of my life feels like it was spent trying to prove people wrong.
I’ve been trying to relearn how to read sheet music, so I was looking at the cliché piano piece Für Elise and I had a quick flashback to the year I took piano lessons in elementary school. I remember my teacher always being cross with me, and her always telling me that I wasn’t as good as her other students. I would always tell her that I was better when she wasn’t around and that I was actually playing harder piano music that she was teaching me. I kept bringing up the fact that I could read and play Für Elise, and that I wanted to get into more sophisticated stuff, but she kept bopping me on the top of the head and told me that I wasn’t going to get there anytime soon.
You see, years earlier my cousin taught me how to play Für Elise and I spent most of my time playing the piano whenever she was around. I didn’t get to see her very often, maybe a few times a year, but every time I was going to visit her I got excited to play her piano.
After the year of working with that teacher, I started to teach myself piano. Teaching myself the basic chord structures and I tried really hard to be part of the Worship Band at school.
As hard as I tried, I never made it onto any of the teams, but I did play the flute every so often. A similar situation happened with the Worship Band. The teacher said I wasn’t up to par, and she actually ended up playing the piano for a lot of Assemblies. No biggie, I just tried harder.
That’s when YouTube became a huge thing for me. I would record covers as often as I could to get better at playing the piano, to get better at singing, and to soon get better with songwriting. I used to practice the piano every day. I would record music every night. Music was my passion. And I feel like a lot of that was from being told that I needed to get better.
In high school, I started going to an art school. I majored in classical voice and my teachers really cracked down on me. I was accepted into the school at a time where they don’t accept many students (year 11), and my teachers kept telling me how much catching up I had to do. They said I didn’t have much of a classical voice and while I wasn’t a huge fan of singing classical music, I tried my very best to learn.
My teachers kept pushing me and I actually almost failed a semester. One of my teachers told my mom I was going to end up being a “party boy who wastes his life” and that burned hard. I pushed myself even further, releasing more original music and making sure to record demos. I sent some over to my friend who works as a professional musician and she would give me her critiques. She is honestly one of the kindest souls in my life, and to be honest, I’m really grateful that I have gotten to share my music with her.
Lead up to college, where everything fell apart for me. I applied for schools with music, but I didn’t get in. My parents told me I had to go to school for something, and the only program I was accepted it was theatre.
Theatre is something I also did a lot growing up. I wanted to be a television actor for a while, but… c’mon let’s be serious here… what am I going to give to TV? Small films and whatnot, sure! But I’m not LA-Standard.
Theatre School was really rough for me. I was constantly put down. I was braided by a teacher in a public hallway about my work ethic in a time of crisis. I dealt with blatant homophobia by faculty. I was told I will never succeed. I was constantly unhappy and I waited too long to leave the situation. I left theatre school gunning to make it in the industry. I started writing and producing. I wouldn’t let anything stop me and I’ve had a good few years of success.
But, I’ve been questioning a lot. Why did I drop the music altogether? What happened to that passion? Was it just put aside so I could prove that I would be a great theatre artist? So much of my life was surrounded by music, so why have I put that aside?
I’ve been doing a lot better with the bringing music back into my life. I’m listening to a lot more of it. I’m writing a lot more of it. I just need to be recording a lot more of it. Not just so I can release it, but so I can get better at trying to figure out what my voice is.
What do I have to say? What do I have to write? This ones not to prove people I can do it. This time it’s just for me to figure out who I am in the art that I love.