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The extended Romanian summer has given way to a very sudden and chilly autumn. In the space of no more than two days, temperatures have dropped from a summery 29*C to a mere 11*C, and there was the first snowfall of the season up in the mountains.

This is the first autumn in a long long time in which I am not a student. I have only experienced this feeling two other times in my life, the first was before kindergarten (but understandably, I can remember very little from that period, given that I was less than 5 years of age). And the other period was my gap year before I went to LIPA. It’s a strange feeling, but one that I’m starting to get used to. On the one hand, there is so much freedom that it’s refreshing. On the other hand, freedom can sometimes be scary when you don’t know what to do with it.

What am I doing with it? Well, I have started working on some new tunes with one of Romania’s leading music producers. Call that a big or small achievement if you wish. I have started being more active, waking up at 7am daily to go trekking through the woods close to my house with my two dogs. Those who know me will know that I consider this to be a great achievement for me, complemented by the occasional visit to the gym. I have also started finding members for my band, and we are basically one drummer short of a full basic lineup at the minute. First rehearsals start this week, and then I can consider that as my “job”, and going to rehearsals as “going to work”. It’s so weird for musicians. In a way, we’re always “at work” because our instrument of work is always attached (especially in the case of a singer) and much of our work takes place at home (vocal workout, writing songs, managing the band).

If you define “work” by the payment you receive for it, then no, I guess I’m not there yet. I have done two gigs with two separate groups of musicians since coming back home, neither of which was paid. But it’s all part of my establishing a reputation/foothold in the musical world back home, a world which is in dire need of improvement. Put very simply, the music industry here consists of a few well-endowed (albeit artificially) girls who can only “sing” because they are auto-tuned to death. Some of my colleagues in the Romanian music world make asses of themselves by forgetting the lyrics to the national anthem at stadium inaugurations (but I suppose Aguilera’s done that too) and by failing to string together two notes in tune, when asked to sing live.

Of course I’m exaggerating a little bit. Not ALL Romanian artists are artificially-endowed females with questionable talent! There are a few who are indeed talented and hard-working, but they tend to be relegated to the sidelines. This, to me, is a great travesty. How can you dismiss the real talent you have in this country, and then complain that our country lacks talents? I’m very worried this might happen to me, as well. But it’s part of the bet I accepted with myself, by coming back home to ply my trade.

So there is much improvement to be done, and I realize that my potential in the current Romanian music scene is pretty much that of Sebastian Vettel’s in the Formula 1 scene. And he’s my age, incidentally. If I do things right, I realize, with all false modesty aside, and with sober realization as opposed to arrogance, that I can set a new standard in music here. And it’s a comforting thing to know.

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