Greenbay, Wisconsin-based singer and songwriter Rändi Fay is a fantastic and admirable example of the strength and courage it takes to change careers.
Having spent years as a veterinarian until a freak accident forced her to retire, Fay transitioned into music to channel her powers from healing physical bodies to healing souls and recently released her latest single “Supernatural,” an enchanting, ethereal track about love and desire and the value of balance in relationships.
Today Rändi shares a special guest blog with Musical Notes Global readers about how the worlds of music and medicine have collided in her life. Read her thoughts below.
“When Music and Medicine Collide” by Rändi Fay
Music and medicine. I have practiced both. Passionately. I was a veterinarian for 14 years, and now have been a songwriter and performer for eight, along with raising an amazing family and fulfilling a number of other community commitments sprinkled in between.
I didn’t choose to leave my veterinary career. I broke my right hand in a freakish accident, then had some persistent healing and nerve related issues, followed by a string of additional injuries. Yeah, I’m basically a clutz. After seven years, I stopped trying to resurrect my veterinary work and took on music full time. It was actually a relatively smooth transition. Setting aside the potential life threatening ramifications in veterinary medicine, I discovered that there are a ton of similarities between the two. Even better, I discovered that I could persevere in my love of healing without bloodwork, needles and pills, but with words, melodies and vocal textures. It's just a different kind of wound on which I am working.
What might feel worse to you: a broken arm or a broken heart? Who is more miserable: a person sick to his stomach or a person sick in his soul? Pain is a very real thing in all of those circumstances, and where medication might soothe one, music is a balm for the other, and sometimes both. What medicine provides for our bones and blood, music provides for our spirit.
I love being analytical, dissecting the flow chart of possibilities when making a diagnosis. That is the science of medicine. But there is also an art to it. There are so many potential solutions to many illnesses, just as in music there are so many chord patterns, melodies and lyrics that can evoke a similar emotional response in a listener. Knowing the choices is the science, choosing which ones will best work together is the art.
It may sound weird to a non-musician to think that a songwriter could be so “surgical” in deciding how to create a song, and maybe it is frightening to realize that a veterinarian can’t always follow a prescribed and predictable path of diagnosis and treatment. There is constant push and pull of science and art, craft and instinct, clinical detachment and deep connection. At the crossroads are intuition and empathy- having the ability to tap into another’s experience, to sense what is going on at a deeper level, to hear beyond what is said, and to listen between the lines. The prize is finding the core of the hurt, the joy, the sadness, the love, and communicating that back in a way that hits the target and provides relief, both with the patient and with the music listener.
The parallel between song creation and performance with diagnosis and treatment is significant! A doctor may be a brilliant diagnostician, but without an effective and empathic means of delivering the information, that patient may shut down, never understanding how to proceed with the treatment prescribed, never really understanding what is wrong, and never really getting better.
If as a songwriter I am abrasive, trite, insensitive or common and haven’t searched for ways to capture the listener’s imagination in that short 3.5 minutes, then I have failed to communicate any message at all except distraction and boredom. I have failed to share that intrinsic comfort so many seek in music: to truly feel, and to truly feel they are not alone.
The cool thing is, in both fields, I have been given the opportunity to change someone’s life, to heal him. To inspire her. Now, with mindful balancing of my exuberant muse and the discipline of intellect, I can create music to help people find connection and new meaning in their lives. That’s what happened to me, after an unexpected and potentially devastating life change turned into a fantastic adventure, and it’s what I hope to inspire in others.
Watch the music video for Rändi’s new single “Supernatural” here, and for all of her latest news and updates, follow her on social media: