Nashville-based singer and songwriter The Slow Drag (aka Austin James) has an exciting year planned for his fans.
After performing and writing with the now-dissolved LA-based pop/rock trio Everybody Else, James began his solo career with the release of his first EP titled Dance Moves. Fast forward to 2019, and the eclectic rock and roll artist is continuing to build that career with the release of a new single on the first Monday of each month. Each track will come accompanied by complementary releases in the form of alternative song versions, videos, and playlists throughout the month for a continued, renewed listener experience.
This week The Slow Drag released “Beat of My Heart,” a carefree, upbeat, feel-good bop with tropical vibes and vibrant rhythms that comes just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Today The Slow Drag explores his artistic journey and the importance of not giving up in a guest blog for Musical Notes Global. Check out his thoughts below.
Sticking With It
By The Slow Drag
When I was 18 years old, I found myself living two miles south of the world-famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California. Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and as green as they come, I *knew* I was destined for international-superstardom. Things change.
Within one year, I joined a band and began touring the US and the world. We were signed, had a great pub deal, a well-established manager, a booking agent at a big agency, and a well-dressed, business savvy lawyer. We in the band were all very stoked about this situation, and were happy to believe that we were on our way to the top—until we lost our drummer. Then we lost another drummer. And seemingly over night, it was over. No big blowup, no damaged relationships, no bad blood, just a slow fizzle and fade. And then it was just me again. All by my lonesome, unsure of what to do next.
So what did I do? Not much for a couple years, I'll tell you that much. I moped around, bemoaning my situation and what I thought was the death of my dream. I smoked weed all day, got really into Netflix and video games, and ate my weight in junk food nightly. I went back to school and studied philosophy and psychology, which was fun, but didn't spark a passionate interest. However, taking that break and focusing on something other than music for a while helped me realize that music truly was where my head and my heart were.
I remember sitting in one of my psychology classes listening to Professor Sedghi detail the academic and career paths available to those students able to obtain a master's degree. More was in store for those able to buckle down and earn a doctorate. The path he laid out was years long. At least 6, if you were able to really pile-up your course load. That's a long ass time! It occurred to me that there was probably a lot that I could accomplish in that span doing just about anything, art included. Flash forward about 6 years, and here I am, making a living off of original music. My 3-year "Quit-My-Jobiversary" is coming later this year.
My current project, The Slow Drag, has been alive since 2016. I knew that starting (basically) from scratch would be tough and discouraging at times. So tough and discouraging that I've pondered giving it all up again, but I'm so glad that I haven't. I'm just getting started, and needed those first couple of years to figure out how to turn my passion into income so I could afford to succumb to more of my passion-fueled whims. Life is now a constant stream of learning, growing, and creating. Wouldn't have it any other way.
Things might not always go your way. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel might not always be visible. You might not want to get out of bed today. That's fine. Listen to and learn to trust your heart, mind, and intuition in order to make adjustments to your plan and path, and if things keep feeling right, you'll go far. Most importantly, take breaks when you need to, but remember that a career in the arts or entertainment, for many people, is a long game. You never know when you'll reach a new level in your career, but you definitely know that you'll never reach a new level if you stop trying.
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