Last night, I played at my office Christmas party.

This is not something that would normally appeal to me, but I actually offered this time around. One of my bosses was leaving, and I thought it would be a nice gesture. People were very sweet about it. I actually sold more CDs than I expected.

Playing for co-workers is a... Unique experience. I'm happy to share my "other job" with them, but I can't deny that it changes my professional relationships in the process. After they hear me play, I become a musician first, and co-worker second. On a personal level, I prefer this. I certainly put music ahead of my job when I think about my identity. But it does make meetings awkward when people change the subject to ask me about guitar lessons, or pitch their musical opinions my way. It's not really a complaint, but a strange side effect of having a musical line of work.

Speaking of musical opinions, this might have been the most frustrating part of the evening. It happens all the time, so it's certainly not reserved for my co-workers, but I have to ask: Why do people become authorities on my musical career after they've heard me play? It's very common for somebody to come talk to me after a gig with the sole purpose of giving me advice. Obviously they mean well, but they tend to have no experience with music, music management, recording, or running shows. Those who do have the experience? I welcome feedback. But holy, I could write a book about the strange advice I've been given.

Last night, a well-meaning colleague said that I should give up playing instruments and writing songs so I could "focus only on my voice."

"Like... A capella?" I said, confused.

"No, just, like, singing."

"But I sing the songs I write. And I play the songs I write."

"But you could sing pop music instead!"

He then proceeded to butcher a song on my banjo. Seriously, dude? This will sound rude, but don't give me stupid advice. It wastes my time. I write songs, I play instruments, and I'm not going to quit because you'd rather I sing pop music. My response to these opinion bombs is changing, too. I've always been as gracious as possible with people, but now I have to bite my tongue not to tell them to fuck off. Eventually the words will just slip out.

In other, more exciting news, I'm taking all of next week off. ALL WEEK.

My vacations tend to put me in stressful situations, far off countries, or I get stuck at home putting down wood floors. This time around, I'm spending the week with ME, doing some baking, recording, cleaning and napping. I'm so excited, I can't even explain it.

On that note, to the weekend we go!

3 comments:

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

When I was on the cover of the XPress for the "best of 2006" someone is my office saw it and passed it around. I got a lot of weird questions and comments then and A LOT of people wanting me to look at their writing or help them get published. Weird.

Shawna said...

Ahaha. "But you could sing pop music instead!"

I get that a lot too. Lots of well-meaning people encouraging me to apply for Canadian Idol too.

Yipes.

Little do your office folks know that the true success of a Canadian musician is being a feature on Vinyl Cafe ;)

Nat said...

Pop music eh?
Nah, you should definitely do death metal... ;-)