Balancing Passions: Music & Business

“For me it’s important to be in balance. To not let fear get in the way of things, to not worry so much about protecting yourself all the time.”
 – John Frusciante, Lead Guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Music is one those things that pulls you in and ties you down. There’s just something about it that has always called out to me, and I can’t think of any substitute for the beautiful feeling of writing songs. It is a process that requires deep introspection, large emotional investment, and a genuine need for expression. Most importantly, it takes time to write a song, and in the MM program time is a valuable commodity.

Since the start of our program I felt as though I was being pulled in two separate directions. One towards a passion for creative expression, and another towards my desire to succeed in the business world as an entrepreneur. Time was the only constraint, and I found myself in a constant state of strife between my two passions. The conflict was almost too real for me to handle, and there were many instances where I considered dropping one option for the other. You can only imagine my parents’ reactions when I had asked them what they would think if I decided to be a professional musician over winter break! Nevertheless I powered through, spending each night thinking about what I truly wanted to do with my life, and after one particularly busy weekend in January I had come to a realization that enlightened me on the path I wanted to take.

That week in January was a hellish one for me. All I really remember was having pile after pile of work from school and my father’s company, on top of upcoming gigs dropping on my shoulders like a bag of bricks. At the end of it I was exhausted, and had spent my entire Sunday in my room staring at the ceiling. It was then that the realization hit me. It was like one of those cheesy scenes in teen dramas where, the male protagonist who felt so conflicted about telling the leading lady how he feels, realizes how much he loved her, and rushes out to see her again.

I realized that I had survived.

It was a surreal feeling. I began asking questions to myself like “Am I sure there is nothing else I have to do?” or “How did I even have the time?” I slowly let it sink in, and came to realize that my success was a result of achieving a proper balance. You could say that balance was the bridge between my two passions. It enabled me to skirt between the two and see each for what they were. By successfully learning to manage my time, I eventually saw that nothing could take me away from what I truly wished to achieve.

This is not to say that balancing two strong passions is easy. There are times when one tries to overpower the other, and the temptation is so strong that it becomes impossible to resist the urge to excessively indulge. In my case, that comes in the form of song ideas that I just have to get in writing when the inspiration hits. To others it could be a potential client calling for a sale, a company calling for an interview, or even a child asking if they want to play a quick game of hide and seek. Regardless of the situation, we all find ways to balance it out in the long run: whether that means spending an extra hour in the MM lounge slaving away in front of a computer screen, or in my case, putting aside school work to do that last quality guitar recording.

Often you’ll feel like you have to choose one door over another. But, what you have to realize is that, finding balance can create a way for you to open both at the same time.

–  Angelino De Guzman

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