September 30, 2013
Today I sat down and looked at my surroundings. Marble floors, clear glass offices, and sleek, modern couches made the room. Echoing off the giant, thin tank of exotic fish, and record plaques hanging from the walls, was not the typical work-day hum. Instead, loud music. Pop, rap, rock, claps, hits, yells – that is the work day hum. And above it all, the distinct voice of a man to whom it all belongs, doing his version of the perfect song to potential clients. To my right sits Troy Carter– manager of Lady Gaga, and John Legend, just to name a few. Considered one of the most powerful and influential figures in music, on Earth, today.
I had, in this moment, a powerful reflection on myself. I fully grasped the power that making a choice can have.
When I was 16, I told everyone who would listen that I was to be in music. I would never do something I didn’t love, I would never settle. I would be surrounded by powerful people, famous people, tastemakers, leaders, and I would become one of them. Not because of a bank, or a law degree, or a college degree, but because of art. Most people thought I was crazy, and I didn’t care.
I’m 20, I left two universities against the advice of most, and never settled. This is intentionality. This is the power of a decision.
I didn’t go from a junior in high school with absolute certainty to a college dropout working under one of the most powerful men in music by chance. Or luck. It was all because of my choice to do so. My decision. My absolute certainty. And most of all, massive action.
Massive action being this: instead of disliking college because I couldn’t study what I wanted, I applied to 5 more, was accepted to all of them, moved states and schools. Massive action is having the self-awareness to realize that it’s not the school that’s going to get me where I want – it’s me. To know I could drop out of school, and through hundreds of calls, emails, texts, and asking, find internships.
Massive action is being 20, a self-proclaimed homebody, who once told his mom he’d never move away from his childhood house, and moving 3,000 miles to Los Angeles. Massive action is what separates people who want things, and people who get them. People who dream, and people who do.
I am in a unique position, but I am not totally unique in most aspects. I have the same exact fears my peers have. I am told it’s courageous to leave school and “roll the dice” to move across the country in pursuit of a dream, but I am no more courageous than others. I know the fallacy in thinking that successful people – or the 1% who live out their fantasies – are there because they are smarter, more talented, or lucky. It is completely false. A giant lie you are told, and one that most people believe when they get older.
I am fearful of many things, yet what separates me is this: I am FAR more fearful of what my life WOULD be if I lived it passively. I am so scared of what the supposed “right path” has to offer. I am so scared of doing something I don’t like, working because I need the money, and just ‘existing’ rather than living. When I lay in bed, so far away from home, sometimes very lonely and scared – I think of what I would be evolving into if I was still in a dorm room, paying $50,000 for a degree, with no feeling of power over my own destiny. That’s enough fear right there to extinguish every want to return to “normal.”
I choose to completely erase comfort. Being uncomfortable, yet knowing the power I have over my own destiny is my new comfort. That is truly striving, and not living passively. Having absolute faith in myself, in hard work. That is trusting myself; not my teachers, coaches, counselors, schools, but myself.
When you realize the biggest secret of all, you are free. And this is it: You really can do what you want with your life. It’s not luck, it’s intention. It’s not random, it’s choice. It’s not genius, it’s self-awareness, honesty, and never settling. It’s realizing that there are people out there that could open any door you’ve ever imagined, and all you have to do is call.
The craziest thing of all, is that most of these supposedly unreachable people are in the phonebook. Their emails are on a website. Everyone wants to be something, and everyone feels they are different, yet VERY few people have the courage to pick up the phone and make it happen.
Very few people understand the power they have in every moment of their life. The power to choose where you’ll be tomorrow.
Tomorrow I’ll be going again to sit and learn from one of my idols. All because I chose to do so.
Postscript – March 17, 2015: In October, 2013 (one month after writing this post), Evan and fellow New England-to-LA-transplant John That, released their first single as the band, Academy. Their debut EP titled ‘Moving Methods” was released on June 24th, 2014 and was immediately touted one of the best projects of Summer 2014. In December of 2014 Academy was nominated and voted as one of the top 5 ‘Top Artist To Watch in 2015’ and won the fan voting for ‘Most Underrated Album of 2014’ by Good Music All Day.