Archive for the ‘About Me’ Category

Story Time

Three weeks ago, I (and a very kind soul) traveled from central Ohio to the Rockies. It was a little over a 20-hour drive, with the largest stretch of the trip going through Kansas. If you don’t know anything about driving through Kansas, it is one of the longest, most monotonous drives known to man. Probably. There is very little in the way of “civilization,” being mostly filled with grain, corn, and other agricultural endeavors.

No hard feelings, Kansas

At one point in the afternoon, we had been driving for about 8 hours, with 5 more to go, and were running low on fuel. Plus I had unfortunately consumed a little too much Cherry Coke Zero…so we decided it was time for a pit stop. There was just one problem with our plan – Kansas hates gas stations.

We got off at an exit that had a beat up, worn out “gas here” sign. After driving half a mile down the road, we found an equally as worn out station with three old-fashioned pumps. Unfortunately, as we pulled up, we discovered a “sorry, we’re closed” sign taped sketchily in the window.

Back on the highway, and a few bypassed exits later, we repeated this same decision, with eerily similar results. The whole thing left me wondering if Kansas had closed early.

Proving the durability of the human spirit (and because we didn’t really have a choice) we traveled on. Eventually finding exit that took us to a veritable oasis in the middle of the Kansas desert, including a gas station complete with working pumps and bathrooms.

Cheesy metaphor time.

There’s little more frustrating in life than making a decision and having it fail. Whether it’s because you can’t see the path ahead (like on a road trip), are given bad information (that stupid gas sign), or just make a poor judgment call (too much Cherry Coke Zero), it’s a very defeating experience. In the music industry, this is a reality for every band, manager, venue, booking agent, engineer, producer…you get the point.

It seems like it should be common sense: no one can see the future, therefore everyone can make mistakes. But it’s something almost everyone struggles with.

Huskies make everything better

Truth-telling time

Since I’m at a time in my (and most people’s) life when I’m diving into the “real” world for the first time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the decisions, opportunities, and denials that come along with it.

So my lesson to myself and everyone in my position: Just say screw it, the world will have to deal with me as I am. Fear can take a back burner.

 

Everyone could use a little more love, though especially Bostonians this week. So I wrote down some thoughts.

According to Google:

Love is “An intense feeling of deep affection.”

To love is to “Feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).”

Love is often boxed in, laid out with a specific set of rules and regulations, so that YOU WILL KNOW THEY LOVE YOU IF THEY DO THESE 5 THINGS (or 22 apparently). It’s segmented into actions and looks and words that ultimately prove nothing. Everybody expresses and experiences their feelings uniquely, and love is no different.

I spent a good part of my late high school and early college years trying to dissect love. I read stories, studies, and opinions on the subject – even tried experiencing it myself – and it always seemed to elude me. I think I’m starting to realize why.

I’m an extremely analytical person, sometimes to a fault. I research a subject, come up with a strategy, implement it, and analyze data. The unfortunate thing is that you can’t. Analyze. Love. You can’t make a points system with a checklist that will magically tell you when you know someone’s in love with you, or vice versa. One point for calling you back, 3 for flowers, 5 for remembering your favorite animal is the blue-footed booby. Of course, saying I love you would have to automatically reach the allotted number of points, but you’d have to deduct for unloving behaviors such as lying, forgetting your birthday, and not arguing fairly…

And then you’re this

Not only would that be exhausting, but it would be fruitless. Our perception is our reality – everyone feels and expresses their love differently. “Real love” is only definable by the individual experiencing it. The only distinction I’m willing to make is the love that encourages growth to both persons and the love that discourages it.

Love is not always patient, it is not always kind, and it certainly can show jealousy. The difference between Encouraging and Discouraging Love is that, with encouraging love, these instances are outweighed by times of patience, kindness, and understanding. When there is a fault in an Encouraging lover’s actions, the lover recognizes the pain they’ve caused and wishes desperately to remedy the situation. As my mother says, “it’s not hard to be kind to the one you love.” Love is one feeling of MANY that a person has in any given moment, it is not a trump card. Every feeling that contributes to a person’s decisions can be diluted or intensified by the other emotions. Love can be healthy with confidence and happiness, and it can be consuming and harmful with fear and anger.

“Love at first sight” may occur for certain people. Those who experience strong attraction as love may experience that feeling daily, while they’ll only consider it such if that love continues after conversing with and getting to know the person it is directed towards.
Let’s talk about “love at first sight.” When you say you love someone at first sight, it implies that the only tangible reality you have to go off of are their looks and the way they carry themselves. Everything else is your perception of who they could be based off of what little you know (and in this case, what you want them to be.)

Or maybe it’s just hormones

It is my belief and observation that those who claim to have experienced “love at first sight” are the ones who are willing to believe that the perception they have is actually reality. Maybe this person just happens to be very close to their first impression, or maybe they are so devoted to that perception that they can look past the discrepancies. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never experienced love at first sight.

That’s not to say that this love is “less real” than other types. Whenever I see “Real Love” in media, the implication is that it is everlasting and that if, one day, you no longer feel it, it never existed in the first place. A better definition is that you can feel love how you want and there is every possibility that those feelings will change. From moment to moment, neither you nor the person you love is the same, so how can your feelings permanently remain the same? In fact, even someone in love feels differently from day to day or hour to hour or moment to moment. That’s why it’s so much work and so imperfect. There is no control for love. There are no rules. There are individuals and basic societal guidelines that may work better for the majority of people, but could be catastrophic for others.

I am no expert on love…I haven’t done or felt it long enough to know everything about even my own experiences with it, but I have observed and analyzed and read other people’s observations and analyses. For me, love is admiration without idealization, it is compassion without pity, it is awareness that you are closer to someone than most (any) people ever will be, but that you will never know everything that person feels or thinks or does, and that’s okay.

Love is not perfect, but how could it be when neither lover is?

It’s late and I can’t sleep or really think logically, but I felt like I needed to say this.

Today was supposed to be a day of celebration and victory – the Boston Marathon is so close to the residents of Boston, whether they’re locals or college students, and it takes a special kind of fucked up to destroy it so thoroughly.

But there is so much good that we have to remember. Cry if you need to, for everyone affected, but try to remember that if you’re alive, then you have to try to take advantage of every moment. There is an abundance of blood donations, over 1200 people offering up places to stay, and of course the police, coast guard, and all the others who are protecting us, to remind us that terrorism will always fail to tear us apart. Let’s show them it will only bring us closer together.

I started running again very recently, and I intend on running tomorrow, and the next day, and every day I can for those who can’t.

This is for the city I love, which I will sadly be leaving very soon. Be safe.

Dear Spotify,

Lemme just get this out of the way right now so we can move on to what needs to be said: I love you. So very, very much. It’s a big step, I know, but hear me out.

A little less than two years ago I was stuck using iTunes, a service that I once used with amazement, but which was proving to have more and more pitfalls daily. Then I heard a rumor about a revolutionary start-up in Sweden – one that discarded the need to store mp3s and transfer them from device to device (which has caused me to lose not only my iTunes playlists, but entire chunks of my previous library,) and instead let them live in the cloud, jumping, nay sashaying, from laptop to iPhone to desktop with grace.

As you can imagine, my excitement could barely be contained when I heard they were planning to release in the U.S. in just a few months. My high expectations were well met. I was tempted into the free month of premium and was immediately hooked, taking Spotify with me wherever I went. iTunes is now as outdated to me as MySpace.

Me. Except I have contacts because I’m not hipster enough for glasses.

Now that my adoration has been establish, know that perfection is an elusive little shit, so there are a few things I’d like to request.

1. Automatically Updating Artist Playlists

I love the fact that I can make playlists that include anything I want. I also love that I can search any artist and find the entire catalog that’s currently on Spotify. You know what would be even better? Combining the two so that I can have a separate section of playlists that are for artists – playlists that automatically update when that artist releases a new song or album.

You got closer when you added the ability to “subscribe” to an artist…but it’s not quite enough to be notified of the artist’s activity, I want their songs to be in my library the day they’re released.

2. More Features in The Artist Profile

Discovering music is one of my favorite aspects of Spotify, whether that be through the radio or searching for a band whose catalog I really want to delve into. Being of the generation that demands immediate access to ALL of the knowledge, however, it irrationally irks me when I have to use multiple sources to learn about these bands. (I’m not proud of it, but that’s the world we live in. Or so I’ve heard)

So please please please provide a little more in depth bio/profile for each musician. Even just a link to their website or social media would satisfy my need to Google one less thing.

3. Start The Radio On The Selected Song

Spotify’s radio is like Pandora in that it never plays the song that it’s based off of first. I understand why Pandora has this inconvenient feature – they have a non-interactive license, so the listener can’t actually choose the songs they listen to. Spotify, however, is based on the very fact that the user CAN choose what to listen to, so I see no reason why the feature remains. Maybe there is a legitimate reason that I don’t see, but until someone proves to me it’s not possible, I will continue to preach from my soap box. Slash blog.

4. Etc.

  • Sort Playlists (alphabetically, by genre, most obscure indie name, etc)
  • Remove the requirement to choose whether I want to search a song, track, or album on mobile version. Sometimes I just don’t know.
  • Starting from a web browser, don’t ask for my login information if the application is already open. It confuses me.

All that being said, I believe in what you’re doing, forget the haters.


Fall in love for yourself: Download Spotify

Some Spotify news and opinion articles:

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2012/11/clearing-up-spotify-payment-confusion.html

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2013/03/spotify-eyes-video-streaming-unveils-first-ever-major-ad-campaign.html (please do this)

http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/12/spotify-6-million-paid-users/

I’m a month in to my last semester of college and all of my classes are beginning to feel more and more a hindrance to real life…Namely startup work, networking, job applications, and, most recently, graphic design.

Computer Meme

Me. 24/7.

I’ve found throughout college that, while classes can be useful, many of them condense knowledge that can be found with some creative Googling. I may be more proactive than some, but I’d still like to think I shouldn’t already know what I’m being forced to learn before I take the class. Therefore, life has become a waiting game. Waiting to to get out of class, waiting for positions to open up, waiting to hear back from the positions I’ve already applied for (the ones I found in between all the companies looking for programmers,) and waiting for the day when I don’t have that stressful but comforting title of “student” to fall back on.

Of course, waiting is a bit of a misnomer…

One Does Not Simply Meme

I’ve hardly had any time to myself since the beginning of the semester and everything I do is to try to actively gain experience, knowledge, and credibility. It’s fantastic, but there’s still an underlying feeling of it all just having to wait – and that when the wait is over, I still won’t be good enough.

Even so, I’m being patient – proactive but patient. Currently I have no idea where I’ll be living in the summer or the fall, but there are ideas floating around and opportunities to be grabbed. They create a template that I can work with and a plan to be looked at from all angles. If A happens, then my path is B. Fill in the blank. Planning for a few different options makes it easier to accept what I don’t know, which is so difficult for the human mind. For now though, it all comes down to waiting.

 

I should have been a computer programmer.

Recently, I was brought onto a startup company in the music tech world. Was that my plan? No. Do I know much about music tech? No. Am I excited and passionate about what we’re doing? Hell yes.

We’re both first-time entrepreneurs, upper semester music business students, and woefully uninformed on the specifics of running a company such as this. It’s not going to stop us though, because of a number of things that I know to be true of entrepreneurs.

1. Entrepreneurs Wear Mistakes and Failures Like A Badge

I was talking to a friend of mine about this the other day. We’ve been raised in a world where mistakes are seen as an embarrassment – something to shun and hide in the closet. Entrepreneurs, however, have a completely different mindset, one of pride. The most successful entrepreneurs will brag about their worst mistakes, their biggest failures, and think of them as a rite of passage – one step closer to the goal.

Even hopeful entrepreneurs know they don’t have it all figured out. My business partner and I know that we will be making all kinds of mistakes, but we look at every error as an opportunity rather than a setback. We’ve already learned so much in just two weeks and right now we’re soaking up all the knowledge we can get our hands on.

2. Entrepreneurs Don’t Listen To Naysayers

If someone has an entrepreneurial tendency, they come with a certain attitude of dismissal when it comes to naysayers. Don’t get me wrong, criticism is more than welcome – we rely on outside input and feedback to perfect the vision and product – it’s the critics who don’t even give us a second thought, saying “it will never work” or “you don’t know what it takes to run a company like that” (as if we’re going to let that stop us).

At this point, we’ve received a lot of feedback, most of it positive, a lot of it keeping us grounded in reality. Every day I’m having conversations with musicians, teachers, and entrepreneurs, all of which have given great input and are more than happy to give advice. Those are the people with the most value.

3. Entrepreneurs Are Passionate About Their Company

Another subject that came up the other day with my friend is the motivation behind starting a company. Entrepreneurs can’t be in it for the money. Mostly because it’s likely they won’t be making any for a long, long time, but also because a startup is more prone to failure if the people behind it are in it purely for profit. Passion for – and commitment to – the vision of their company should be the driving factor.

4. Entrepreneurs Are Kind of Crazy

It takes a certain level of insanity to be able to put up with the stress, work 24/7 (we’re working in our DREAMS), and ignore all the signs that say you’ll fail.

But it’s a great insanity. The feeling of bringing something into the world that wouldn’t be there without your hard work is exhilarating. The look you get when you tell people who “don’t get it” what your plans are is priceless. It’s a constant battle, but somehow it never feels like work.

It’s chaotic, methodical, educational, social, stressful, and the most fun I’ve had in my life all at once. I’m excited for every day, and determined to make something great.

If anyone is interested in learning more, sharing their experiences, or giving advice, please email me at musikleigh@gmail.com or leave your story in the comments.

Here are some great articles about entrepreneurship:

http://www.incomediary.com/6-traits-all-entrepreneurs-secretly-have-in-common

http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/17741/The-11-Harsh-Realities-Of-Being-An-Entrepreneur.aspx

http://ethansaustin.com/2013/01/24/six-stages-startup-lifecycle/