The hobbies that we are drawn to allow us to express the unique language of our souls. Whether it be through creating art, music, any form of personal expression or interest that you carry out on a regular basis. These tools allow us to get in touch with ourselves and enter a flow state where we share what is real, true and pure to us.
We share with the world through these hobbies what we are truly passionate about. We lose hours, days even, when we do these activities.
Time seems to standstill.
When faced with the question ‘what would you do every day for the rest of your life if money was no object?’, many of us would answer that we would fill our time and spend our days carrying out these hobbies and passions of ours.
But at what point does that dream become real and that passion becomes a profession?
What does it take to pursue your passion professionally and turn it into a wildly successful full-time gig?
Unconventional Life caught up with Mike Casey, jazz musician, melody poet, story-telling songwriter, producer, and saxophonist, to talk about his journey to fulfilling a successful career in music and to answer some of these questions. As a musician who has been creating music full time for 6-7 years professionally, Mike is pretty familiar with living the Unconventional Life.
For Mike, music has always been one of his passions and constants throughout his life. He started playing saxophone some 17 years ago, as a child. He is in the process of releasing his 4th album and his passion is to infuse jazz with other genres and tell stories through his music.
Music, to Mike, is more than just playing notes – “I try to make every single note I play mean something… when I play a line, it’s not just a series of notes, it’s a sentence, a statement…. I’m really really big on storytelling and every single one of my songs comes from a story.”
He decided to go to music school at the age of fifteen, where “for the first time I felt this incredibly powerful feeling of ‘this is it for me’ I can do this for the rest of my life”. The drive of his classmates – all of who had a driving passion to be the best of the best at playing jazz – was what pushed him and motivated him to up his game and raise his skill level. Although he went straight from music school to a professional career in music, Mike believes that ups and downs were a definite part of the journey – “it’s definitely not been an easy route, but it’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world… you learn so much when you have that pressure to create and make it work”
We asked Mike what advice he has for any of our readers who are wanting to pursue their passion full time, particularly in a creative field such as music, and what it takes to make their dream a reality.
“Music and life mirror each other… you have to want it, for one, but you have to live it… you have to be okay with being obsessed, putting it in your heart and your soul, it has to grab you and you have to love it…”
Mike strongly advocates that passion is everything when it comes to pursuing something as a career and that you need to be prepared to put everything into your art – that it’s all about “finding that thing that you are so insanely in love with that you will sacrifice so much to delve into it…” because ultimately, there will be sacrifices, there will be hard work and there will need to be some stamina involved if you want to succeed.
However, he also is an advocate for following your heart and encourages readers to boldly pursue their dreams – “to anyone out there who is thinking about making that jump from their day job or whatever they’re doing to something new, I say do it…” and that the key to living an unconventional life successfully is “having faith in yourself and knowing that it’s all going to be okay.”
“Get ready to do a ton of research as to what has worked for similar artists in your space.”
Find an artist in your scene and study what they are doing to try and problem solve. Find out some data points like who is on their team, how often they release music, who is their publicist, what venues they played at on their last tour is to get a roadmap of how they are becoming successful.
Eventually, the research will be less about other people and more about yourself as you start to know what is and isn’t working.
As a gift to one lucky reader, Mike is giving away a 15 minute Skype call – about music, mindset and life. To be entered to win the giveaway, click here. A winner will be selected next week.
Connect with Mike
Text him @ +1 917 540 8084 or through his website