Updated: Mar 4, 2020
One morning, end of last year, I caught up with my partner at the firm, also an old friend, over breakfast and our talk slanted toward the explosive music scene in Austin, Texas and some of our work cut-out for that part of the world. This was the same time I was pursuing to do a unique story for my editorial and with my next sip of coffee I had decided the band I wanted to interview for 2018, first editorial piece. I quickly took out my laptop and without wasting any time dropped an email to Dan Bowman, lead singer of an American folk rock band – Fox and the Bird, from Dallas, Texas. I had started following this band recently and have been in love with their music ever since. It is not every day that you hear the perfect harmony of banjos, accordions, ukuleles and fiddles weaved with lyrics nothing far from the undefiable reality triumphed by rays of hope, and you will believe me when you listen to their last track “Wreck of the Fallible,” one that tops the chart for me.
Five days later, I had an email in my inbox from Dan, agreeing to do the interview along with his band member Jacob Metcalf (also the founding members of the band.) I have interviewed many artists in the past but some of them are just a little bit more special than the others and this band was one of them. After a long day of rock ‘n’ roll at work, I logged in for a video interview with Dan and Jacob and it turned out to be an overwhelming and immersive experience of my life, to say the least. Both came across no different from what their music reflects, real and hopeful. Since their inception in 2008, the band has released two albums, “Floating Feather” and “Darkest Hours” and their third album is to launch in 2019. Band’s current band line-up includes Dan Bowman (vocals; guitar; trumpet; accordion); Jacob Metcalf (banjo; guitar; vocals); Bill Richmond (violin); Mimo Morreale (bass); Gina Morreale and Paul Grass (drums; vocals.)
Our interaction mostly touched upon the hardships of sustaining a music career and band’s road to ‘Darkest Hours.’ Jacob Metcalf shared, “it costs us a lot to put an album out, emotionally and financially. I tried multiple times before finally taking out my solo album in 2009, running to studios, running out of money, failed and gave up. 2010, I decided I wasn’t cut out for this and I was going to quit music and go work on cargo ships, travelling in sea with my guitar in my bunk. I was about to leave Dallas, when Dan reached out and told me you are not done yet. It took me five years after that to finish that album, it sounds crazy to me now.”
“To be travelling around the country is not a lifestyle that allows me to raise a kid. Until my son graduates I will continue to do my day job. I like it because it gives me the freedom to not have the pressure that music has to be my income, that I can write songs because I want to, because I am inspired to write songs and I think when you make it a full-time career, it just takes on different dynamics and it’s tough,” shared Dan Bowman.
Music is about hard work and substantial investment. Statistics indicate that a major international signing of an artist requires cost between US $0.5 million and US $2 million to break in a major market. But, the real onus of the success of an artist actually lies with the consumer, at last. Dan elaborated, “music is everywhere, you can just put on your phone and push play without having to pay for it because it's much easier streaming it. Just think about it like this, if you go out to a restaurant and the food doesn’t cost you anything then you start to think the food isn’t worth anything and I think it could be the same with music where indirectly every time we stream something, it doesn’t cost us. I think by not assigning value to it we are lowering our value.”
Watch excerpts from the interview highlighting few critical topics of significance for every musician.
Billboard charts and industry numbers can give you a picture of what should be trending on your playlist. But how much do you really appreciate the value music brings to your life and how much are we willing to pay for it, is a conscious call one has to take. It’s rather unfair to ask something so expensive for free or for very little. Can you even fathom - WHAT WOULD THE WORLD REALLY BE LIKE IF WE DID NOT HAVE MUSICIANS?
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