This blog is about my late discoveries into the world of music and surfing. It is definitely never too late to learn something,and in my opinion finding hobbies/passions that invigorate you is one of the keys to leading a happy life.
By now- depending on which social media app we have connected on, or if we are real life friends, you probably know that music and surfing are my two greatest passions. What you may not know is that I had a crippling fear of swimming in the bay and the ocean from the time I was approximately 20 to the time I was 40. Also, I did not play an instrument until I was 28 years old. This blog is about my two greatest passions, and the major influence they have had on my life, despite being introduced to me in my adult years.
When I was younger, I would go boogie boarding in the ocean every day of the summer. I am not sure what/if anything happened to instill this new fear in me when I was twenty, but it happened. From fears of clogged ears, to what is lurking beneath the dark waters, I had decided that the water was not for me-despite my LOVE for being at the beach. There would be days when I would play hours of beach volleyball in 95 degree weather, and while my friends were cooling off in the ocean in between games, I would be at the shore line trying to put water in my hands to throw on my head. This went on for 2 decades, until one of my friends kept insisting that I try paddleboarding with him. I explained to him my phobia(s), and he would try to explain how/why I needed to do it to get over my fears. I am not sure what exactly made me trust him enough to try it, but I did...and honestly- it didn’t go too well lol. We went for a leisurely paddle in the bay, and I paddled out on my knees like a true beginner. We paddled across to a marsh which is where I had my first fall off a paddleboard...into a muddy marsh-probably the worst place I could land in all of the bay. I got back on the board, on my knees, and told my friend we need to go back to shore now. I KNEW paddleboarding was not for me. It was not an easy paddle back either, as we were against the wind and there were times when I did not think I would be able to make it back without assistance from a boater. I was 38 years old, and I vowed to never try paddle boarding again…Sidenote-I had been practicing yoga for about a year before this paddleboarding adventure. It was helping me in so many areas,(in hindsight it is probably what gave me the courage to try paddleboarding in the first place) and I was taking yoga classes 5-6 days a week. One year after my first terrible paddle boarding experience on the bay, I was now 39 and on a trip to visit my parents in Florida. I saw some people doing yoga on a Stand up Paddle Board in a canal with crystal clear waters. I hesitantly went on groupon and purchased a paddle tour package in the canals of South Florida. I began to feel comfortable on the board immediately,(yoga had definitely helped) and by the end of the day, when the instructor asked who wanted to learn how to do a headstand on the paddleboard, I tried it..and nailed it!...and I have not looked back since. I went home and purchased a board from a local shop and began to tour some serene spots on Long Island. Unfortunately, recording this album has somehow allowed yoga and most other activities to cease, and this is a problem that I must fix. I must find that healthy balance that I once had, and I will write more on this later in the blog.
After about a year, the same friend who had gotten me on the water for the first time somehow convinced me to try paddle surfing. I have always been a person who loves the outdoors and especially mountain biking. Surfing has provided me with an entirely different appreciation for Mother Nature. I surf all year long here on Long Island, even through the hurricanes and cold winters. It still amazes me that I was able to shake my phobia, seemingly without even really trying.
This seems to be a good place to segue into the start of my music career at age 28. The relative element of fear occurred when I was 30 and taking the stage at my first open mic nights. Before I tell some of these stories from the early days, let me start from when I was 28 and my mom got me my first electric guitar from a garage sale. I was attending graduate school to become a teacher, and I had always wanted to learn an instrument, but never really had the time. I was very low on funds at the time, and I would go to the local book store- (before the advent of youtube), and I would sit down and write out the chords from guitar books. I’d then take these notes home and begin to make the shapes happen on the guitar. I did this 5-6 times a week, and would practice every single minute that I could. I was totally obsessed with the guitar, and I was getting better each day. Although my voice was dreadful at the time, I would try to sing and play the guitar, mostly for practice. If I ever did decide to release this audio of my singing voice at the time, which I won't:), you probably would not believe it was me. Which is even more reason why I can’t believe I chose to do my first open mic night, at The Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale, 2 years after I began to learn guitar. I think my fist open mic may go down as one of THE nerve-wrecking days of my life. (If not for the birth of my beautiful daughter 1 week ago, it may have been number 1- but that is a story for my next blog.) In any event, at the open mic night I performed half of 2 different songs, and stopped completely abruptly in the middle of each song- apologizing to the audience for my mistakes. This “routine,” would continue for about a year. Each time I would go to the open mic, I did notice I would get a little bit better/more confident on the guitar. Additionally, I began to take guitar lessons. I always took pride in teaching myself for the first two years but I realized I was beginning to plateau and it was time to take lessons. This played a tremendous role in my career. After 5 years of learning guitar through lessons, I had my instructor then teach me bass guitar. Then piano, drums, ukulele, and saxophone. I would drive to work from Hampton Bays to Glen Cove and learn harmonica as I played along to a cd in my car. My passion for music was relentless and my progress was happening rather speedily. Over the years I had learned about the recording process as well. The thing about music is that it is essentially infinite. I will never be a total master at any of these things I have mentioned, but the beauty of it is that it does not matter. Simply being able to create music is a gift that I am so thankful for.
When the pandemic happened, like most of us, I was fearful of leaving the house and this was the perfect time to begin recording the album. While it was the perfect time to get lost in my music, my daily exercise went from daily to weekly to monthly…to whenever there were waves and that was it. My mission became to finish this album before the baby, and I am happy to say this was a success. I was essentially working two full time jobs, and I found it impossible to maintain a healthy balance. As I finish up the final touches of my 3 years of work that went into my next album ‘Rocks and Roots,’ I am starting to feel the release of all the pressure from completing this massive project. I am confident that all of the work that I have put into this project will pay off. This “pay off,”may come in the form of streams for my songs, followers on my pages, recording other artists at Flowstream Studio, writing songs for other artists…who knows?!! What I do know is that my love for music runs deep, and I have re-discovered my passion. Now that my 3 year project is in its final stages, it is clear to me what I need to do next. With the birth of my daughter, it is now time to shift my focus on my family and my health. Surfing and music were two of the best things that have ever happened to me, and now I have recently added 2 more; marrying my wife and having our daughter, to that list. The timing for all of this is perfect and I am ready to find my balance again.
Since the Pandemic began almost 3 years ago, I have launched my studio, “Flowstream Studio,” recorded and released two albums worth of music, in addition to learning how to fully operate my own business as an independent musician. I somehow have this feeling that this is just the beginning of my musical career even though it has been twenty years. This is the launching pad that I have been wanting to build for years, and have finally discovered how to navigate all of the intricate details in this business. My new single, “This Wave'' will be coming out in just a few hours- at 12AM on Friday, February 18th. Please support me by following me on youtube/spotify- or wherever you stream your music.