“I’m ageless because I’ve made this decision that the only true wisdom I’ve ever acquired is to do what I love and I’ve always desired to make music for a living.” I’ve had this dream since I was 13. I’m now 32. In many ways, I feel like I’m 13, 32, and 75 all at the same time. A friend of mine told me it would be sad if I was still Mission Man when I turned 50. I understand his viewpoint, and he was referring to me still delivering pizzas, going to open mikes, giving out demos, or whatever method of promotion exists 18 years from now. In those black and white terms, yes, I’d say it would probably be sad, too. If I were still trying, never going forward…
I don’t think it would be sad if I were still rapping and making music at 50. I hope I’m blessed enough to live a long life, and that making music is a part of my life until I die. What would be sad is if I gave up.
I feel like I would have aged differently had I given up. I say this for multiple reasons, but obviously, it’s impossible to tell for sure. The first reason is that I’m happy, most of the time, because I have something that gives my life meaning. I have a reason to wake up every day and smile. Bad things happen, of course. Stressful situations are plentiful, but it’s my reactions to those situations that are improved by music, by having a dream of any kind. The worst times of my life have been when music hasn’t been a big part of it. When I slept in a closet because someone close to me was too sick to work, when my life in Chicago became dominated by work (it’s amazing how much an hour plus commute each way every day adds up and subtracts from your life), etc. I seemed to age very quickly in those situations. In Chicago, I got fat (I’m 6’5” and normally 210-225; in ChicagoI got up to 256 and could feel the health problems starting) and tired in a few short months.
Once I left Chicago, I lost 40 pounds in less than 6 months because I was happy. I went to Tokyo for the first time ever, and experiencing that culture still impacts my life today. Just after my 12 day Japan adventure, I toured for a few months, sleeping in my car, or at a family member’s home, eating peanut butter and bread when I got low on money. $5 would feed me for 4 days. Maybe not much nutritional value, but I didn’t need it. I was healthy and happy. Returning to my dream has always been the right way to go. That’s why I don’t think I’ll ever let go of it again. It will take different forms, and a year from now I expect my pursuit of it to alter its course, but it’ll always be a part of me.
Over the next several months, I’ll be performing multiple nights per week, in Cincinnati and Dayton, rebuilding a following. For a while, I was stressed out about whether or not it would work. Now, I’m comfortable knowing that it will work, even if I don’t increase my fan base. I know I’ll have some wonderful experiences along the way, and it is those experiences that drive me.