"Hands like secrets are the hardest thing to keep from you…" One of my all time favorites @anberlin has been on my playlist all week. Their lyrics and sound are both amazing.
My sophomore year of college, I bought birthday tickets for a friend to go see the show where I first saw Barcelona play. I had previously upheld this silly rule where I wouldn’t ever look up/research the bands on a show who I didn’t know because I was more interested in their live performances anyway (snob, 19 y.o., whatever) and wanted to just be surprised. The first band I broke that “rule” with was Barcelona. I looked up their website and saw a bunch of tour vlogs that I started watching. These guys were funny, endearing, good looking, the music was great, and by time I finally saw them on that tour, I was already hooked. As the year progressed, I slowly got all my friends hooked too. It was one of my musical missions to tell everyone about this awesome band I found.
The year that I met Barcelona was also the year I decided that working in music was my end-goal. Many people thought that work should be on stage, sharing my own talent, but the high of being recognized for my voice was never as good for me as it is for so many musicians I know. I wanted to help those who I admired be heard. C. Sheily Entertainment was born from this want, and while I was in Colorado Springs studying to become a writer, I was using my free time to build press kits and book musicians for shows. C. Sheily Entertainment then became C. Sheily Promotions. Why try to force bars to book my musicians when I could plan shows and put who I wanted on the bill? So that’s what I did.
After a year or two of realizing that being labeled the “promoter” kinda sucks, and that nobody could pronounce or spell the business name (my middle name), I wanted yet another change. With the help of my amazing business partner, a friend who I met during my freshman orientation in Boulder, and our awesome helper at the time, we became C/Note Public Relations. It took me a while to understand the nature of what it was that I loved most about Barcelona - telling everyone else about them! Suddenly, being a publicist made sense. I want to tell you about the people who are working their asses off and doing it in style, and I want you to tell your friends and fans, and I want it to spread like a virus, a virus for good instead of bullshit.
On June 8th, I sat across from a friend who experienced Barcelona with me back all those years ago for the first time, and next to my current business partner. There we were, discussing how we could team up for the next adventure. Sweet relief moved it’s way into the marrow of my bones knowing that I had something to look forward to with such beautiful people.
Things came full circle in the most beautiful way that same day as I sat, in awe, watching Barcelona play Red Rocks for the first time with The Fray. It’s been almost 6 years since that first show, and so much has happened. It’s been a journey for them, much of it made possible through the belief of their fans and their very hard work. As my friend said, “I think I’m a little more excited to see Barcelona than The Fray.” It was a sentiment I shared. Not only was that a sentiment I shared, but in that moment of triumph for the band and for their loyal Coloradan fans, I realized that, over time, I had let a lot of the bullshit I wanted to cut out seep into the core of what I was trying to create. I had let music break my heart, lead me to dark alleyways, keep me up all night, and it became an addiction to feel needed and involved.
An example that springs to mind is from a movie. I love the movie Almost Famous, as most people who love music do, and I spent years fancying myself as a band-aid when really I’m a William. I was the kid, starting young with no idea what the hell I was doing, just smart enough to figure it out fast, jumping on the band wagon - literally - with no idea where we were headed. Once it all slowed down, I realized, like William, what Lester Bangs was trying to tell me all along. I had stopped caring about what was cool, who could get me into what show, and all those perks. Maybe people in the music industry create relationships, if they’re lucky, but often there is not much substantial behind it. Maybe you’ll find enough success to get paid, get the recognition, etc., but the reality is that for every one of me, there were 100 others trying to do the same stuff from which participating in exhausted me.
What I have left now is a lot of great stories. And some of the best include Barcelona, and my friends, and the year I decided to start breaking my own rules and the path that followed. In the last 6 years, I’ve become an artist. I’ve discovered how much I love working with children and encouraging their dreams. I’ve become an activist. I’m learning that political correctness rarely gets things accomplished. I’m also learning that I enjoy listening to an entrepreneur talk about their own journey almost as much as I like discovering a new smooth tune. I get bored when I’m in a place where I can’t participate in a serious conversation, and though my peers mock my seriousness, I’m starting to find those who appreciate it as well. I crave substance beyond the art because (I’m not sure if you’ve figured it out yet) the art imitates life because the art comes from the artist and his or her experience. I thought I wanted to impact lives with art, but I want to impact art by changing lives.
And so it is. Why I love Barcelona so much. Somehow, these fellas from Seattle manage to continue to be on my soundtrack no matter how things change. And as I embark upon the next great frontier in the ever-evolving phoenix cycle, my loyalty stays strong.
What is your next step? Check out Barcelona’s performance on Audiotree. You won’t regret it.
Since graduating college at 22, and being a networking bee, I’ve come across this interesting phenomenon. Many of the people I encounter at a professional, and often personal, level assume that I’m in my 30s. Now, I can only assume myself that it is because so many of them are also in their 30s and just think everyone else is too, but with this assumption comes a frustrating realization. I can’t really explain where I’m coming from out of the context of my age – fairly recent graduate who sometimes contemplates going back to school, lived with family up until a few months back, so excited to have a newer car with air conditioning, never really having had a relationship, etc. etc. Things that are often results of having less life experience can be attributed to my age as much as my choices and upbringing.
But what happens when you tell a 30-something who is relating to you on a professional and sometimes personal level that you’re actually 24? Well, sometimes they find it hilarious and fascinating. Then sometimes you’re suddenly seeing a lot about “people under 25” or a lot of “oh, when I was YOUR age” type language in your interactions. Someone who was previously respectful and really warm suddenly has a lot of very interesting age-biased opinions and observations to make that are not so warm.
A friend said, “Well how would you feel if a 16 year old could relate to you, and meet you where you are, and you thought they were older but found out they were just 16?” That’s a great question. I suppose I would be slightly threatened, maybe a little skeptical or unsure of them, but mostly it just depends on the situation. I’ve been told multiple times this year that, on average, you hit full cognitive maturity at 25. In fact, I saw an entire argument about the age of consent being raised to 25 because otherwise you’re (scientifically, speaking) asking someone who doesn’t have the full capacity to make mature decisions to make a choice about sex. Obviously there is many a flaw in this logic, but the point remains the same – What is mature? What is ready? What is capable?
If a 16 year old is rising to the occasion of being mature, ready, and capable for scenarios that I’m also tackling in my 24 year old life, well… okay then! Everyone has a different path. But the truth lies in how secure you are in yourself. When a 30 something can realize I’m not 30, and treat me with equal respect as they did, I see an opportunity to learn from one another. Will I be as mature or have as much experience? Probably not. No matter how old I seem, I’m still missing 5+ years of experience that you have in life, the greatest teacher. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t be an ally or even a mentee. That also doesn’t mean that I will automatically respect you if I can’t see evidence of your own maturity.
As Anais Nin beautifully states, “We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”
Basically, we’re all growing up together.