Yesterday while being interviewed by a Swedish radio host I was asked what I thought was the difference between being a jazz musician in New York and in Reykjavik. The first thing that came to mind is that when I was living in New York music was number 1, 2 and 3… and 4 and 5. There was nothing else. The same went for my friends really. Hardly anybody had kids so we would stay up late listening to music, attending gigs and then sleep as late as you want. Take it easy, have breakfast, practice and write music. It was unheard of to do sessions or rehearsals in the mornings. 11am was the earliest and only agreeable if absolutely necessary. Kids change everything.
Everybody has kids in Iceland. No more late hours for the fun of it. We are up at the crack of dawn and since many musicians teach in the afternoon the norm is to do rehearsals in mornings. So at 9am this morning I showed up to my rehearsal with my macchiato in a thermos after making avocado-chocolate pudding for breakfast and dropping the kids off at kindergarten and what do I hear? A band is already rehearsing, blasting out Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves. Now that should wake you up! I couldn't help but think back to life in Brooklyn and how that would never have happened in my old neighborhood. Inspired by the joyous energy of that tune we hit and by 11 am we had already played for 2 hours.
Life seemed more hectic in New York or maybe it was just more of a struggle but I actually think that I cram more into everyday in Iceland in attempt to balance life with music and family (that has all kinds of special allergy-free dietary needs). Every minute is valuable and I don't hang out at cafe's anymore or do yoga in the park. I think life is fuller now although I'd like to have more time to create music. I am so fortunate to be a mom and also so fortunate to have music be my profession. I have no desire to retire. I may not play as much as I did when living in Brooklyn, but it doesn't necessarily mean that I don't play as well. I hope that the time spent at playgrounds and watching Lazytown with my kids brings something good to my playing and my music. After all, music reflects life.
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Oh, how different things were just 6 or 7 years ago! You ARE so fortunate to be a mom, and even more fortunate to be a mom to Elsa and Isabella. And of course, they are so fortunate to have you as their momma.
I can see two essential words in your beautiful article, "life" and "balance"…
You can't play, or enjoy the deep beauty of music without embrace life, with all its ups and downs, and that's just what you're doing these days, between Brooklyn and Reykjavik, there's just a slight stream of cold water after all…
Best wishes, as always,
Federico (aka euskir)
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[…] of weeks ago I posted my thoughts on being a jazz musician in Brooklyn vs Reykjavik. (Read it here) I pretty much came to the conclusion that Reykjavik is better… for me. Someone suggested […]