It’s something I lost track of years ago in my struggle to be a professional musician. I was a professional—paid to play, teaching at two different music schools—but was always so afraid of making mistakes and failing that I lost track of what I loved about playing. This piece by Macklemore names exactly the thing that I think I’m still looking for: that feeling of joy in making and creating music, not because I have to but because I get to.

What I couldn’t find in a hotel room, on the road or in Seattle, I found in the middle of nowhere. No reception. Making music not because we had to, but because we got to. I had forgotten how to do that. Not being afraid of the platform we were standing on. Not creating from a place of “don’t fuck up” but creating from a place of “fuck it up.”

It’s what I try to teach my kids and it’s what I want for myself.

I fell in love with Anthony Hamilton’s music back in 2004. Newly married, new job, first kid on the way…there was a lot going on. And when “Charlene” first came on the radio I could relate to the song right away and was instantly hooked. In this performance, not only does Hamilton give an excellent performance, his band and backup singers are right there with him. Musically, yes, but it’s clear these guys love the music and love performing together. Such a joy to watch and listen to.

When I was younger, growing up in the South Bay Area/Silicon Valley, my mom always had KDFC on, a local classical station. In the car or at home, we loved their musical variety of popular classics from Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, but also lesser known works/composers, too. And around Christmas time you couldn’t beat their selection of Canadian Brass or choral selections—”new” and old—that set the tone for the holidays. I still subscribe to their newsletter and read about the winners from their latest contest, the Monte Vista High School Chamber Singers from Danville, CA. I’d say it’s pretty clear why they were the winners. Enjoy.