“There are places I remember. All my life, though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments. With lovers and friends I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living. In my life I’ve loved them all.”
Those are the words to the song “In My Life” by the Beatles. Those are also the words on the back of my dad’s memorial card.
I lost my dad four years ago to cancer, but this post isn’t about all of that. It’s about a moment in those last days that all makes sense now – in present time. And those words will come in play in just a few moments, so bare with me.
Friday night, I was at the Tyrone Wells/Ben Rector concert. After watching Tyrone play his set a few feet from the stage, Kaylia and I moved to the balcony to get some fresh air. As I took in Ben Rector’s set, I closed my eyes and drifted back in time to a moment my dad and I had just a few weeks before he died. We were at my sister’s apartment, and my dad wanted to play guitar, so he pulled out his Les Paul. At this point in his illness his fingers would shake, making it hard to grip things – like guitar strings. He got frustrated and just told me he couldn’t do it anymore. I encouraged him to continue, so he kept trying. It became too hard for him, so he handed me the guitar and asked me to play. So I started strumming “Table For One.”
That was the last time I saw my dad play guitar.
As I am listening to Ben Rector play, and that moment with my dad replayed in my head, something so surreal hit me. When my dad handed me his Les Paul, which I now play, he wasn’t just handing me the guitar, he was passing on his musical torch.
Yes, I’ve done a lot musically, but not to the point where I am truly happy. I am happy, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not satisfied. In fact, I’m quite hungry. I know my dad is proud of me, but I really want to take that torch and run with it, reaching the potential I know is within me.
So, with all of this being said, I am setting goals for myself. I want the rest of 2013 and 2014 to be the best year musically so far. I’ve released an album, recorded with Grammy award winning producers, toured some incredible venues, but that’s just the beginning.
I am not the most skilled performer, and there’s a lot to work on, but like I told my father – I will never give up. So I am going to push harder than I ever have.
With that, I have some goals for the rest of this year and 2014:
1. “Masquerade Ball” music video – The title track to my first album is “Masquerade Ball.” I’ve been wanting to put together a music video for a long time, so now it will come to fruition.
2. Supporting Act – Even if it’s just one show, in Chicago, my goal is to get that one opportunity to play for a bigger named musician. (Tyrone are you reading this????) All we ever ask for is that one shot, right? So that’s all I am asking for. One chance to shine with a musician I look up to. Knowing I am gracing that stage, with a new audience I have the chance to win over and play with someone I look up to – now that’s a dream moment.
3. New Music – This is a given, but it all leads to album number two.
4. America’s Got Talent – That’s right. After missing out on my chance last time (If you don’t know the story, make sure you check your junk emails all the time) I am going back to audition, and this time I will make sure to check all forms of emails and calls, so I don’t hit myself in the head. The last time, I played a song I really liked, but this time, it all makes sense what I should bring to the table.
Those words at the beginning of this blog – by the Beatles – that was my dad’s song. And he passed me the torch. So it makes perfect sense to audition with this song for America’s Got Talent. Maybe I won’t win AGT. Most likely I won’t. But, all that matters is I can give the world a glimpse of the torch my dad passed me, and hope someone sees talent and help me take the next step in my career. There are hundreds of more talented people than me, I get that, but I know I have something to offer and it all started with my dad having faith in me, knowing I can do something with my music.
I wasn’t fully ready to take the torch he was giving me. A few nights ago, with my eyes closed listening to a musician do what he loves the most, it all made sense. I am truly ready. Torch received. It’s time to run.