Musicians don’t retire, they just change direction and get more picky and choosy about what they want to be doing plus…
They don’t give a fuck about what people think of them and their music anymore.
Right now, we’re approaching the halfway point of May, which means that we’re almost at the end of the 2020/2021 financial year, which means it’s almost tax time (something that I’m preparing for at this moment) plus, it’s been just over four months since I turned 50.
For me, turning 50 was the start of me looking back on my life and asking myself questions such as…
- Am I getting too old for this music caper?
- What have/haven’t I achieved to date?
- What am I going to do next with my music/life?
Now, to some, these questions are necessary because self reflection is an important part of growing as an individual but I reckon in my case, this line of self talk has been designed by my inner critic to derail and sabotage any attempt of me taking some sort of leap of faith in 2021.
This is of course cleverly done under the guise of “being realistic” which as we all know is the nemesis of all optimists like myself.
I’ve noticed that as they get older, there are some musicians that turn to genres like Country, or Blues, (or Roots, or Urban Folk, or Americana, or whatever the fad/flavour is for this year) as a means to “musically retire.”
While all of the above-mentioned genres have their place to fill inside the wonderful musical landscape that we all live in, retiring to these genres would be for me the musical equivalent of putting on a dressing gown, slipping on some comfortable slippers and watching TV for the rest of my life.
No, I don’t think so, not for me…
If I was going to musically retire, I want to become an ambient musician. I would be retiring by composing and performing ambient music, soundscapes and the like. I want to walk the path that sonic pioneers like Brian Eno has been walking on for decades.
That’s where I see myself in the latter stages of my music career.
However, besides my post-birthday contemplations, I was also inspired to write this because of a YouTube video created by brilliant ambient musician Bill Vencil from Chords Of Orion and Chords Of Orion – Longplay called “You Will Become An Old Musician (Bring It On)” a perfect response to a negative comment he received about how some musicians are supposedly TOO OLD for YouTube.
I had been following Chords Of Orion for a fair while now but it wasn’t until I saw the above video that I decided to really get into what the channel was about… Ambient Music and the creation of it.
Anyways, what I’ve gathered from all of this is that there is no such thing as musical retirement. Music (and the creation of it) transcends age and therefore it also transcends the self imposed limitations around age that I sometimes put myself through.
I am so glad I am the age I am, with the knowledge and experience that I have and the ability to create music with all of those tools at my disposal. I look at 2021 and beyond with excitement knowing that there’s going to be some wonderful music yet to be created.
Robert Fripp said it best when he described music as the “…wine that fills the cup of silence.” I say that for me, the best is yet to come.
PS: As I’m writing this I have Brian Eno’s “New Space Music” humming along in the background and I’m loving it. It’s so conducive to creation, I’m surprised I didn’t click onto this before.