first and for most, this EP is kind of a joke. but only kind of. let me explain.
over the past year, i had three potential jobs open up: writing epic trailer music for a high class studio in Europe, writing songs for a studio in Nashville, and producing pop music for a label in ATL. all were very real, very professional, and very lucrative opportunities. i worked on a trial basis for each one, and things were going well. but one way or another, none of them worked out.
why? well, to be perfectly honest - i gave up. i’m almost ashamed to say this, but by the end of each trial basis, i couldn’t bring myself to follow through.
i would always start out so strong. i would deliver good material, they would ask for more, and i would work more, and then, without fail, i would hit a wall, hate what i was doing, and give up.
what am i doing? i would ask myself. these are DREAM jobs, AMAZING people to work with…literally opportunities of a life time! what’s wrong with me?! maybe i’m not good enough i wondered. maybe this is all a mistake…maybe i should never have done music.
fast forward to the end of april. this is going to sound crazy, but here we go - i was driving to Athens to visit a friend. i had all of these questions swirling in my mind, and while driving, i saw a lottery sign that said $330 million. “wow, that’s a lot of money,” i thought. i stopped to fill up my tank. i went inside the gas station, and before i knew what i was doing, i bought a lottery ticket.
for the rest of the drive, i held that ticket and asked myself the question: what would i do if i won the lottery?
i know, i know. it sounds stupid. but please, think about it. what that question is really asking is this: if money wasn’t a factor, what would you do? if you had everything (financially) you could ever want or need, what would your life look like?
i realized that so much of what i was doing was driven by money, which defined success for me. all of those jobs? i was in it for the money, for the connections. did i enjoy it? no. because i was in it for the completely wrong reasons. my motives of financial stability (safety) killed my creativity. whoops.
i took a hiatus. i started giving myself the freedom to dream. i started asking myself the question what do i want to do? forget money. forget being realistic. forget caution. what do i want to do?
and i realized: i want to create for me. i want to create things that i want to create. i want to write the music that i want to write. (that might sound selfish. but bear with me.)
the thing is, money isn’t an issue for me right now. i have a part time job. i get royalty checks each month. i’ve never not been able to eat. i’ve always had a place to sleep. no, i’m not living a glamorous stardom life. but if i could, would i? ehh, probably not. i have everything i could possibly need. so if money isn’t an issue now…why not do the things i’m dreaming of doing?
i decided to live like i’d won the lottery…minus the money. instead of always looking ahead to some mythical destination of stability to finally start “living”, i started living in the present. and you know what? ever since i saw that stupid billboard, my perspective has completely changed. my mindset changed from i have to i get to. i get to do music. this is a privilege, not an obligation. nothing kills creativity like obligation.
i started dreaming for myself. not for reaching stability. not for social normality. but for me. and i discovered the craziest thing - under those conditions, that’s when i create my favorite work.
through my failed job possibilities, i did learn one thing - i love singing and song-writing. specifically, writing the songs, singing them myself, and producing them. when i do that…i feel like i’m doing what i’m supposed to do.
so i gave myself a challenge. write a pop music EP. “what’s all pop music about?” failed relationships. sweet. let’s go.
i started at the end of may, right after i had finished the music for catalyst, the film i had been working on. i started writing the songs, producing them…and it was slow. it was time consuming. it was all new territory for me. i almost quit multiple times, per usual. but i didn’t. i finished just another failed relationship at the end of october, and then spent the next two months pitching it to music professionals, for feedback and advice.
throughout the process of working on it, i was waiting for someone to stop me. to say that i shouldn’t or that i couldn’t. i almost wanted someone to sit me down and say, “jon, what are you doing? you’re wasting your time. go get a real job. stop this nonsense.” but no one did.
and now? the EP is done. it’s released. no, it’s not perfect, but it’s a starting point. no, it’s not in the top 40, but guess what? that wasn’t the point of doing it.
this EP is kind of a joke. but only kind of. let me explain.
this is the start of me learning to dream for myself. not trying to conform. not trying to play it safe. but to enjoy what i do.
the point of music is enjoying it. and that’s it. and that’s what i intend to do from now on. enjoy it.