To be honest, I have always been self-driven. For as long as I can remember, I have always had an inner drive to succeed, not just to be better than others, but to better myself. Ever since elementary school, I could never bring myself to settle for average. Of course, back then I was a bit of a “surface learner”, considering only grades as the main determining factor of excellence.
Of course, I have matured a lot since then. The older you get, the more you realize the value of learning for your own good. Nowadays, I not only think about how the knowledge and skills I learn in school can be instrumentally good (that is, good in ways which it can be used to reach an end), but also intrinsically good (simply, good for me as a person). Whenever I come out of a class, I think about how well I understand the information, how I can apply it to my business as artist, and how it connects with the subject matter of other classes. After all, if you don’t fully understand something, then what’s the point in taking the time to learn it? If I’m going to learn something, then I will keep at it until I know that I can successfully apply it to my own life.
More importantly, if I ever decide to learn something new, then I want to be the best I can be at it. When I started drawing at 4 years old, I started with a simple desire to be as good as my cousins because I looked up to them. When I discovered how fun drawing could be, I kept doing it because it was fun and because I always wanted to be better at things. The same goes for DJing. I started DJing on a laptop for fun 2 years ago, and once I realized how fun it was, I kept practicing and getting more music to add to my sets. I knew that if I got better, that there would be no end to what I could do. Eventually I got serious and invested in CDJs. Laptop mixing wasn’t challenging enough anymore. I kept practicing and over time I could mix by ear. It eventually got to the point to where DJing wasn’t enough. I got tired of mixing other people’s music, and so I decided to create my own. I always had ideas of songs in my head that I wished would be made, and it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I realized that no one would ever make those songs but me. I watched tutorial after tutorial on how to use FL studio. My thirst for knowledge and my desire to create could not be sated.
I think that’s the best thing about me as a person. Once I find something I want to learn, I attach myself to it like a leech and I suck up all the info I can about it. It started with drawing, then animation, then dancing, then acting, DJing, and music production. If it’s something creative and I’m given freedom to explore, I will put my heart and soul into it. Every single creative thing that I do is a means of expression. I love creating music because it’s an extension of my personality. I have ideas in my head, and my objective is to replicate those ideas as closely as possible. The better I get at something, the closer I get to reproducing those ideas exactly.
That’s why I can never settle for average. If I have the ideal finished product in my head, I want what I produce to BE that finished product. I’m not going to compromise quality just so I can finish or to have “something”. If it’s not what I want it to be, then it’s NOT FINISHED. I am my own harshest critic and a perfectionist. I have re-recorded a mix over 10 times just to get 1 transition exactly the way I want it. Sometimes being a perfectionist is a curse, but it is generally a blessing. It’s what sets me apart from the status quo and gets me recognized. It’s the reason why I’m at SMU to begin with.
Among other things that motivate me are the values upon which my parents raised me. M parents have taught me the importance of doing my best from the very beginning. They have always been loving and supportive, and so I always worked hard to make them proud. I want to show them that all the years of work and sacrifice for me were not in vain.
Another strong motivator is my own conscientiousness about the future (this goes back to my inner drive to master and succeed). When I get older, I want to be able to support myself and the ones I love. I have a certain image of who I want to be, and I won’t let myself become less than what I strive for. My dad and my uncle both worked themselves to the bone for decades to support their families. They are real men because they step up and take care of their loved ones in times of need, and I have more respect for them than any other men I know. I want to be like them, only I want to make a living using my mind, not my hands.
And of course, there’s money. Money makes the world go’round, so they say. Money is only a big deal because we need it to survive nowadays. We’re the only species on Earth that has to pay to live (that is, we pay to live much more comfortably than animals). But money is only an instrumental good. It is not intrinsically good for anyone as a human being. It’s only a means to an end. That being said, I like the ends that it leads to, but I only want money because I want to live the lifestyle that I want to live. I want to make enough to pay the bills and then some. The last thing I want is to live a life plagued by hardship and poverty. I DON’T want to be a starving artist. But no matter what, I wouldn’t stop doing the things that I love if I wasn’t getting paid for it. Hell, I’m already doing a lot of gigs for free. Even if I had a crappy day job, I’d still be making music and I’d still be DJing.
Why? Because for me, it’s a release. Making other people while doing something that makes me happy is the most rewarding experience anyone can have. When I want to cut loose and escape, I’ll get behind the decks or open up a DAW and start making the first beats that pop into my head. It’s enjoyable, and I’m honing skill, so it’s a win-win. Money can always be made somehow. I just want to make money doing something I enjoy. Every artist in the world is chasing the dream, but what many of them don’t realize is that the chase is the dream, and the chase never ends.