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I’ve wanted to be a musician since I was a kid. Had posters on my walls of Jars of Clay and Steven Curtis Chapman (before I discovered Pearl Jam). I dreamed of playing arenas, being in a recording studio, making music with my heroes. It has been an incredible gift and honor to, one by one, put little checkmarks on each entry of the dream list.
It’s also let me see the reality of touring/musician life, and that being “bigger” or more successful is not something I actually even want. It would mean more travel and more things pulling me from my family, which to me is a much deeper calling.
I’ve come to a place where it feels I have to choose between providing for my family on the road or being with them at home. This past year I’ve found myself praying for a way to keep working with people I love on music I love, while coming off the road and being with my family.
So next week I will be starting a job at Capitol Records in the Christian Music division. This would be the label that bought the label that both signed and dropped The Normals. Same building. Such glorious irony. Or is it merely happenstance, Alanis?
I’ll be doing A&R, which is short for Artist & Repertoire. Essentially, I’ll be coming alongside artists, encouraging and helping them find the right vision for their projects and the right songs to speak into that vision. It is connecting artists with songwriters, producers, engineers, etc to make the right combination for the best record. It’s also scouting and signing new acts.
This job is half of what you do while producing indie records, and it’s honestly my favorite part. Songs are what define an artist and a record, and being able to speak into them in their infancy is something I love. Getting to know a new roster of artists and helping them find what God has made great in them when they’ve forgotten. This is something I am incredibly passionate about and can’t wait to be able to do full-time.
And this will be a full-time, office, salary and benefits kind of gig. Something I’ve never had before. It will mean, however, coming off the road as a full-time musician. This past year was maybe the most I’ve ever enjoyed playing music on the road and I’m glad to be able to leave it while it’s a thing I love.
I’ll also be letting go of the studio, which is sad in one sense, but freeing in that “check I don’t have to write every month” way. I’ll be moving a lot of my gear into Ben Shive’s BeeHive Studio so he has some more toys to play with and I’ll still have a place to go and make some noise. And some more EPs.
I’ll continue my artist writing and recording, because I couldn’t stop if I tried, and after all, I still owe you four more EPs! So you’ll be getting more music from me this year than you ever have before. I’ll also keep writing music with my friends and playing on their records if they’ll have me!
Road-wise, I’ll be finishing out a few solo and weekend Steven Curtis shows that are left on the schedule for this season. And I’ll keep playing Nashville shows, since honestly, those are usually the most fun anyway.
The truth is, my solo music has always been a side job, so except for not seeing me on the Christmas tour, it probably won’t look too different from the outside. For my family, I’m hopeful it’s going to look very different. In a good way.
I’m really excited about this new opportunity, a chance to really speak into something I have both loved and loathed over the years. I’m looking forward to getting to work with my producer/writer/artist friends in a new capacity, hopefully bringing them work and bringing true and beautiful music to a wider audience.
Mostly, I’m excited about seeing my girls and Alison every day. I’m thrilled to be able to be a more stable presence in our home, with a more stable income (and dental!) and a job that lets me use my love of songs, Jesus, and people in a new way.
I’ve had the incredible opportunity to share the stage with my heroes, write songs that have been a part of both weddings and funerals, and have made the most amazing friends. I’ve played somewhere around 2000 shows and done over half a million miles in a 15-passenger van. I got to perform at Carnegie Hall! I have somehow been able to play guitar and sing harmonies with the absolute best songwriters in a town called Music City.
Looking at that last paragraph feels like it’s written about somebody else. It can sound lofty in a bio, but it’s just been hard work at a thing I love, nose down, trying to pay the bills. For me, it has taken walking out of the room to realize just how amazing it was to have been there in the first place.
Thanks for being my friend and being a part of the past 16 years as a working musician. It has literally been a dream come true.
P.S. To celebrate this new beginning, I’m going to be throwing an online StageItparty next Tuesday night, 7:30 Central. I start the job Wednesday morning, so this will be the Reverse MidLife Crisis Eve Show. I’ll be playing songs from the Heart EP and from the past 15 years. Hope to see you there!!