In The Field : Jared Mahone : Sept 23 ’13

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September 23, 2013

I was asked in an interview the other day about my favorite part of being a professional musician. As an independent artist, that’s a pretty loaded question that I’ve had to field for sometime. There are so many pieces of this adventure that often make it hard for me to subjectively prioritize. There are the obvious and cliche elements of the game. I’m guessing the interviewer was after such an answer from me because she hardly seemed satisfied with my response. Perhaps she wanted to hear an answer like performing in front of people, singing or playing an instrument, hitting the open road on a tour, or recording albums. With no intention of avoiding cliche in any kind of contrived, hipster fashion, I must point out the multitude of lesser known options that were racing through my head. Most of these have nothing to do with music directly, but instead, are supporting tasks that seem to grant me no less joy than the aforementioned headlines. Theres the solitary satisfaction I receive from both the process and, at times, result of writing a new song. It’s almost as if you are breathing life into a tangible something that both never existed before and has always existed since time began but just wasn’t heard until you sang it. Another is the mere act of driving a car long hours into the night or greeting the gradient morning blue across the orange barrel interstate. How about the challenge of connecting with a promoter in a far off land who I know is the first person I must win over before being accepted in a new city, no matter how well I might be known in my own. I thought, also, of how much I enjoy caring for and maintaining my equipment, the very tools that help me communicate my craft, get me to the show or meeting, or amplify my simple small voice to an audience of many or few so they can not only hear, but feel what I’m doing. Even spending the time with my instrument until it reveals new and exciting plateaus I haven’t previously found seemed like a great answer. Not to mention handling books, balancing budgets, cash flow projections, branding, marketing, promoting, late nights, being stretched to insanity that can always become the catalyst for new outpouring of creative material, all of which have a special place in my heart. Not because they all come together to accomplish this dream of a job in music. I favor them all separately as their own individual tasks. I realize this may sound a little silly, but even the simple act of wrapping an extension cable is cherished, the pleasure of which is gutturally extracted from the chore’s very tactile and repetitious nature. My simple answer? It’s all my favorite. Even the smallest piece of it makes my insides fill with life. This has been an answer I have been satisfied with for a few years. But quite honestly, there is one element that takes precedent.

I included a photo of the new person I met today. Her legal name is Lukcy Charms, changed from her birth name for reasons I have yet to discover. With a name like that, I hope she sticks to being a musician and doesn't take up dancing or something.

I included a photo of the new person I met today. Her legal name is Lucky Charms, changed from her birth name for reasons I have yet to discover. With a name like that, I hope she sticks to being a musician and doesn’t take up dancing or something.

When the rest of it gets old, I can’t imagine this one thing fading. My real answer? Meeting people. Promoter, music professional, fellow musician, and fan. In my situation, one could argue that because these relationships are built from what may be even the most minute level of fame or at least a degree of admiration for what I may have to offer as a minstrel, it makes my answer drip with self-absorption. I fault you not for thinking that. I will admit that I have used and maybe still do use my position on stage as a short cut ticket in what I feel I may lack in social currency. But, even without performing, promoting my brand as a handshake, or attempting the incredibly lame act of impressing a girl by writing or singing her a song, I still love the adventure that is meeting new people, engaging in conversation, discovering their story, and hopefully encouraging them along their own personal journey. With no agenda in mind, the fulfillment in creating new or enriching established relationships is most definitely my favorite part of being a professional musician. But really, it’s my favorite part of being a human being.Jared Mahone


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