Why Do We Do ALL The Things?
It’s odd that this opportunity came along when we are doing our 2019 planning. I say that because up until the change found us in 2016, we had no discernible plans beyond what events pushed and pulled us. We were only reacting to situations in our lives, but not truly deciding what we wanted and what we would plan to do to take action on anything specifically, but let me back up a little…
While it is not my intention to tell the WHOLE story, I want to lay out a framework for where we’re at now, so here are some important highlights.
Bruce, Me, And Our Dream
Bruce and I met in 1986 when I was three weeks out of high school and he was just turning 21. We met over music and we bonded over our dreams of crafting a creative life – when we met, that was our individual dream and then, as we grew closer, that was our collective dream. Therefore, we would take steps toward it by investing time, energy, and money toward our dreams. At that time, success in the music business meant attaining a record deal, so that was our aim.
We had known folks to get record deals right around us, so we knew it was possible. Our biggest obstacle seemed to be creating music that would “sell” instead of creating the music that was a natural expression of our creativity. But there were even times when we put that seemingly high and mighty philosophy on the shelf to craft music that was “with it.”
The problem with this practice, which we attempted at least in four incarnations, is that there was no heart in it and, listening back, we did sound like our best selves when we were trying to be someone else.
Needless to say, our efforts didn’t get us far or when they did—we signed a deal with a manager in the 90s to find us a record deal (with a rap project we put together) and even hard a record that “sold” records, was distributed internationally and end up on an Italian Top 40 chart (with a house music record). We felt no joy in it and couldn’t sustain writing and being that type of artist.
Also, along the way, we saw the folks who had acquired record deals release records that they didn’t believe in and that ended up having no commercial success. These folks ended up taking nine to five jobs and talking about “one day,” just like the rest of us. But that’s not the change that hit us in the face.
The Day Change Found Us
Bruce’s parents passed away several years ago, which un-grounded us and made us realise that we needed to evaluate how we were living our lives, but we made all kinds of rationales as to why we were doing the best we could with what we had. We were foundational members of a church that we’d been with for ten years.
For years, we’d believed that our purpose was there in that church, writing songs for and leading praise and worship. However, nearing the end of that ten years, we realised that the church had grown in a way that no longer was in-line with our beliefs and which made us, frankly, uncomfortable. It was in November 2016 that the change found us.
Leaving The Church
Not only were we really ready to leave our church (for all the aforementioned reasons), but we knew that there must be something more we could be doing with, now, over 30 years’ worth of music, and to fulfil our creative purpose in the world. That’s when my mom passed suddenly of a heart attack.
To understand how profoundly that impacted us, you would need to understand that my mom was the champion for all things creative. When anyone else would tell you that a creative goal was not possible, it was my mom would pull you to the side and tell you how much she believed it was possible. And whenever we were doing something creative – had out a new record, recorded a song, were performing live – she was the one to boast proudly about it.
We had just begun to put up YouTube videos the year she passed and she was excited to know that we were sharing our music again (after a long time of not doing so, because of our involvement with our church).
Is It Too Late?
Needless to say, when she died, my day-to-day existence was rocked. It wasn’t because of just not being able to spend time with her anymore; it was because, though she championed creativity, she had never been able to realise any sustainable financial success with her own efforts.
So, when she passed, the first question for me was “Am I doing what I can to help grow a sustainable creative life?” The second question I asked was, “What does a life built around creativity look like for us?” Finally, I asked the question that would plague any 48-year-old who still has dreams; I asked, “Is it too late?”
Though it has taken two years to be able to provide answers to the first two questions, I was immediately able to answer the third one; “Hell, no! It’s never too late!” We started right there and have been seeking clarity about what we really and truly want.
We have been learning what we can about everything that seemed foreign to us, such as marketing, social media branding, video editing and promotions – so that we can take that power that we had been giving to others (those managers and A&R execs, etc.) and wield it ourselves. At the same time, we began to authentically explore the way we want to show up and express ourselves. We also wanted to find a way to build a community around our ideal and aesthetic expression.
Getting More And More Done
It has been through this entire process that we created our blog (Blooming Prejippie Zine). The blog naturally segued into the YouTube channel (search “prejippie”) that we had already begun establishing. And from the YouTube videos, it became natural to transfer some of those discussions into our podcast (Gab & Jam).
Of course, all of what we create must be shared, so we built up our social media following on a variety of platforms. To date, we engage with over 11k followers between all our social media platforms; a figure we didn’t know was possible to reach within such a short span of time.
How do we get so much done? Here’s how.
So, now, we run into people who ask why we do so much. I honestly have to say that we are making up for 30 years of waiting for others to introduce us to our Grand Creative future. Now, WE are the ones doing it. Truthfully, I can’t wait to get out of bed each morning, so that I can start on the next thing and follow up on that other thing, and find time to squeeze in just one more thing.
Of course, I have NEVER worked harder in my life, but I have never felt more fulfilled. I won’t say that we could not have gotten to this place without the challenge, but I know for sure that this particular funeral re-wired my brain entirely.
It was as if something was unleashed and that no matter what happens from here on out, we are going to leave a legacy for upcoming artists so that they will know that they need to use the power they have right now to create the future they want to have. It’s never too early to start and it’s never too late to finish. This is why 2019 promises to be our best and most creative yet!
We are songwriters, who are in a constant search for creative inspiration. Through our blog, our YouTube channel, and our podcast, we share those experiences/products/events/tools that we find in our daily journey of navigating Midwest life. It is our goal to nurture that D.I.Y. Rock Star in us all.
More Ways to stalk BLOOMING PREJIPPIE:
- Soundcloud (blog)
- Soundcloud (music)
- Funky Happy People (Who Listen to a Variety of Genres of Music) Facebook Group
- Be the Next D.I.Y. Rock Star Facebook Group
- South By Southwest 2019 Meet Up
Check out their follow-up post here.
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