I have a dilemma, but before I describe it, you need backstory.
I am made of contradictions. The fabric of my being is made of contradictions. I could go all deep on you about this, but I’m going to keep this rant straightforward. For instance, my father is a sport fisherman, but I am allergic to fish. Both of my parents had pilot’s licenses for small aircraft, and yet I had never been in any plane until two months ago. There’s a word for this sort of contradiction, but I’m completely blanking on what it is. Anyway, both of these facts are amusing little throwaway remarks I pull out at parties to make an impression. They’re very near and dear to me.
But perhaps the biggest contradiction of my life is this. I am a penny-pincher, and yet I am a musician. These two descriptions should not go together. If they were a venn diagram, they would look like this:
Musicians are the flakiest, most deluded people in existence. We don’t pay our rent on time, our credit cards are always maxed out, our checks are bad. We aren’t rational people because the entire premise that our life purpose is based on is fucking insane: that we can live our lives and somehow find enough time, money, and energy to rock out on the weekends.
And I’m even dumber than the average musician. I’m so deluded that I think I can work in the industry! Granted, I’m not dumb enough to think I can make it as a recording artist. My plan is to sidle into a label doing whatever bitch-work they’ll pay me for, and then work my way up to a point where I can do some sort of significant work on some sort of significant album.
So let’s get down to the contradiction. I’ve had my obsessions in life. I’ve fangirled over various bands and anxiously awaited for albums to drop. But never, I repeat, never, have I obsessed over a recording artist as much as I currently am over Mayer Hawthorne. It started when he opened a concert I went to. I had never heard of him, but oh, his voice was smooth. Then I casually listened to his music. Three years later, I have watched every crappy camera-phone video of him on Youtube. We’re in love, he just doesn’t know it yet. It was a slow growing obsession, like a tumor. And like a tumor, it may be fatal. To my bank account.
You see, I have the opportunity to see Mayer Hawthorne live again. At Bottlerock Napa, an nearby music festival in late May. But it costs $149, and I don’t want to part with that money. That’s 16 hours of work. Two aspects of me, the penny-pincher and the musician, are at war.
To clarify, my obsession with Mayer Hawthorne is not just of the crazed fangirl variety. I’m also obsessed with him in an “I want to emulate you” sort of way. It has to do with the fact that he’s found his sound. He’s an R&B/Soul artist, but when I describe his music I elaborate that it’s throwback Motown, because it sounds like Motown, but is contemporary. I love the sound.When I record my own music, I listen to his albums as a guideline. “How do I add an R&B feel to this beat? Well, I’ll listen to ‘The Walk’, that’s a song I’d like to emulate.” He’s also an excellent arranger. While occasionally, some sappy lyrics will make me wince, never has a song felt unresolved or incomplete.
So do I spend the money on the festival? I have a hard time buying recorded music. I know, I want to go into the recording industry but I steal songs off the internets. Another contradiction, this time an immoral one. Sometimes though, when I steal music, I make myself feel better about it if the artist is dead. Because then I’m not stealing from the artist, I’m stealing from the greedy record label. That I want to work for.
I just don’t know what to do. The deluded music fanatic in me wants to splurge on the tickets. But the sane, monetarily conscious person who is about to go broke in college says the musician is a fucking idiot.