I cannot fully remember myself as a young artist. No more than a shadow anyway. There are glimpses of time, visions of me working and thoughts, half-formed floating through my head, but there is no clear vision of me as a young man. It may seem weird to some people. I think we all have an image of ourselves as younger versions, mostly idealized, of who we were and how we acted. The more I think about it, the less I can distinctly remember. So what would it be like to speak to someone at a similar age but in a different place in their walk? Have you done it yet? Perhaps you have and perhaps you haven't, but I can tell you that taking the time is not only valuable, but also a bit surreal and utterly incredible.
Speaking with Daniel Crawford is fast paced and full, his intelligence is something to be taken in, like lightening on a summer evening. He is passionate, purposeful, driven, handsome and friendly. Honestly he is the kind of musician you expect to read about or see in a film, there is an aura about him that tells me he will be great. His rhythm of speech is like the fingers of a mad piano player, gliding across the keys, pressing them down, down, down into a mahogany case, striking the wire, slinging notes into the air. He slings thoughts and observations, I fire back, and together we make a small symphony on a Sunday afternoon.
He speaks about music with such purpose. You can see it is his passion, his love. I wonder if his piano misses the touch of his hands as I am sure the paper, and certain specific ears, miss my words. Daniel can craft a chord progression in minutes, he loves and studies his work, he obsesses over it. His way is the way of mastery in the arts, true mastery. We do not worry about 10,000 hours, only about creating every single day, about crafting our work from nothing to existence. We share stories about creating, about our paths as artists. He is the young artist, coming into his own and sstarting his journey, not merely the first step, but several in though still early. I am the older artist. The one who started, got distracted and came back. He asks about my journey, about when I began. He tells me about his.
We talk about work. Work is often one of the hardest things for creatives, for artists, as so many are undecided on what they want. Do they want to work or do they want to live the lifestyle? I tell him that I pursue writing because I have adopted an attitude of asking "why not," rather than "why." Daniel has always had that attitude. I am envious of that a bit. It will serve him well as an artist. he does not seek to justify why he should be successful in this endeavor, but rather demands the world prove to him why he will not be. He strive to be better and aims to surround himself with people who will drive him in that direction.
Danial and I talk about people and their impact. I tell him I don't hang out with many artists, preferring the company of entrepreneurs because of their hard work and grind, because that motivates me and keeps me from living a less efficient life. Daniel tells me about times when he felt the most efficient as a musician, when it flowed from him and he created with power, with grace, as we are all supposed to. He wants to return to that place, and he is learning how to set his mindset for it. That is the key to everything, and Daniel understands that. Your mindset is what drives your work, what leads you onward and what will ultimately lead to success or failure. He is so focused on it, studying himself to learn. he is a student, a scientist of himself and his craft, h is much more prepared to charge forward than I was when I was a young artist.
My time with Daniel ends in a blur, much as it began. I know we will talk again. I have drawn such inspiration from our time together and I sincerely hope he has as well. This is not me talking to myself, but talking to another artist as a young man, a brilliant one. One who will work. I long to hear him play, long to see his impact in the world and for our next conversation. Perhaps at the end of our lives, this will be a story they will remember, when great artists met and had a sandwich for the first time.
Favorite Dinosaur: Brontosaurus
Why: They were big enough to defend themselves yet never bullied others. Gentle giants.