For the last three years, I have been an on-call substitute for the band Air Supply. Their main guitarist―who has been in the band for the last ten years, has a family, and is still playing 100+ dates per year—needs a break every now and then. That guitarist, Aaron McClain, just happens to be the first music director I ever worked under in Los Angeles.
I can't recall how it all came together, but in 2009, I was in the right place at the right time. SoundLife co-founder, Mike Torres, and I played with the same artist under Aaron’s direction. We were both in our early 20s, very green, and very hungry. Aaron took a liking to us, and the next six months were life changing. He taught me how to be a sideman, how to play parts, dial in sounds, how to look, etc...Years later, he called me to start working with Air Supply.
I mention Air Supply because there is no band that encompasses Valentine’s Day more than they do. One of their setlists can easily have 10 out of 17 song titles with the word “Love” in it. Their entire career is built on power ballads, boy meets girl, and deep and always genuine love songs. Stepping into that band is an honor, and what they have achieved and still carry out to this day is amazing. Lovingly referred to as Airheads, their fans are die hard followers who look forward to seeing the band as many times as they possibly can.
My journey to Air Supply is something I often look back on and think, “How on earth did I wind up here?” Sure, it’s easy to say that I was in the right place at the right time, but it’s more than that.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” -Seneca.
I was ready for that moment, but only because Aaron, along with a long list of amazing people, extended themselves for me. For me to be where I am today, I had to receive a lot of guidance from people who could have easily helped only themselves. In a business known for being less than kind, I found people willing to go above and beyond to help others. It’s something I try to never forget and always pay forward, especially with SoundLife.
Love: "The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth.” ― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth
I believe the word “love” is an action word. It is not a feeling, though it can certainly be mistaken for one. It is the real reason I wound up sitting on stage with Air Supply. It took love to move that mountain. People extended themselves to nurture my growth, and the experience left me with a powerful appreciation. When I think about how love got me to where I am today, I'm reminded that music is the vehicle for many actions, especially love.
Music is the boyfriend standing outside your window with the boombox. It’s that first kiss when you were so afraid. Or that first concert that allowed you to truly let go and become overtaken by the music. It is the reason Airheads continue to go see Air Supply over and over again. Music moves people to reach beyond what they thought themselves to be capable of, and when approached the right way, it helps us all reach our best self.
Inspiration + action + discipline = X.
In this equation, X could easily be replaced with pretty much anything someone desires and just as easily with the word love. We have a thought...an inspiration. Then we take action, and if we are disciplined enough in our action, X can truly equal anything. This is how we make love out of nothing at all.
I want to encourage everyone to put on their favorite love songs this month, or maybe even just their favorite songs. Let them take you back in time to special moments in your life. Let them move you to take those loving actions that could mean so much to those around you. Close your eyes and let that music sink in until you cannot help but smile. Happy Valentine’s Day!