Jillian Speece and Nathaniel Hoff of The Bergamot share what life is like as two full musicians on the road. Hear how they got started in their music careers and how they got to where they are today. These two are about to release their next full length album, Mayflies, on September 19, 2019.
The Bergamot is a nomadic husband/wife music duo that has been playing full time since 2009. Their dreamy blend of folk and 70s rock has led them to widespread acclaim, including playing SXSW, appearing in the video game Rock Band, and even winning an Emmy. They recently finished a 50-state tour and have a documentary about that tour coming soon.
This episode is brought to you by the Killer Creators Program, where we help transform unfulfilled folks into killer creators by finding and unlocking their truest potential and learning all the practical tips around time and money management that make living as a full time creative easy to do. You can join our email...
In this episode, you’ll meet your hosts, Nat and Michelle FitzGerald, and learn how they went from being tired middle school teachers to running their own makerspace, art and music festivals and more. Now these two are killin’ it and living that creative life on their own terms.
Through this episode, Nat and Michelle share the difference between doing creative work for yourself versus doing it for a living, how they got to be Killer Creators, what they were doing before, and secrets for staying creative, productive, and motivated.
Maybe you say that you are not an artist, that you couldn't even draw a stick figure if you wanted to. Well, I believe that's not true. Creativity is part of the human experience, and making art is one of the best ways to express that creativity. And you can learn to do anything with enough practice. Now we can make a broad definition of what art is. You might be more into the culinary arts, music, or performing arts, but that's still art. And there are many reasons why you should be making more of it. Today we'll just look at six of the best reasons why you should be making more art.
Yesterday morning, Michelle's grandma stopped by for breakfast before leaving town. We made jalepeño and herb omelets, a pot of fresh ground French press, and ate Concord grapes straight from the vine growing over our pergola.
As we were tidying up dishes, she said to us, "Oh, this was just so special."
I responded, "This is actually pretty normal for us most mornings."
Just about every morning, we wake up and make a big, delicious breakfast. If the weather allows, we eat it on the back patio, right under the previously mentioned grapevine. We take our time with it, talking at our leisure before getting on to our work for the day.
It's a simple luxury, but it means a lot.
When we were teaching, our mornings were completely shot. We felt lucky if we had time to stop at McDonald's for a McMuffin before school. Big, leisurely breakfasts were a Saturday-only treat, and one that we relished.
One day at such a breakfast, Michelle and I were talking about our dreams and...
In the last several years of running our shop, we've run into a bunch of people who have said things like, "I could never do that—I'm just not that creative."
Often, we feel like creativity is an inherent state of our being. We either are creative, or we are not. Someone else might be able to look at a canvas and imagine worlds hitherto unknown, but certainly, I cannot.
The good news is, that's not true. In fact, a NASA study of 1600 4- and 5-year-olds found that 98% of them performed at genius levels of creativity. The same test administered to adults only found 2% displaying that same level.
Your creativity is like a muscle. If you don't use it, you lose it. It atrophies.
But that doesn't mean you can't get it back. There are a number of things you can do to get those creative juices flowing again!
Here are a few of our favorites.
One of the hardest parts of any creative work is that first idea. Few things are as...
In college, there was a bit of a recurring joke any time anyone mentioned they were getting a business degree.
“So basically, you don’t actually have an idea of what you want to do when you graduate?”
Me and my friends from the arts, music, and philosophy departments would chuckle at their bland lack of creativity.
If they flipped the script on me, I would tell them I wanted to be a drifter—take a tour on a missionary ship, maybe hitchhike across South America...I even mapped out a route for a globe-circling solo boat trip.
When I was asked why (and everyone asked), I would answer with some sort of pithy statement about the world being too big and exciting to not see as much of it as I can. But in reality, there was a much deeper reason motivating my wanderlust.
I was terrified of responsibility.
Taxes were a mystery to me. I didn’t know the first thing about managing a checking account. People would talk about investments, and...
Henri Matisse is right. This creativity stuff is risky. You are taking your ideas out of your head and putting them into the world. And you're hoping people like them. You're hoping they get it. You're hoping they understand what you wanted to say. But life doesn't always happen like we hope. And so you think of all the things that could go wrong if you share your creative work. What if no one likes them? What if it breaks? What if people see the real me and don't like me?
I get it. When you create something, anything at all, it's personal. There's part of you in the work you create. And while that can be scary, it's also the thing that makes this sort of work kind of sacred. You are creating something that never existed before you made it. You are bringing an idea to life. It's like you are a mad scientist, a god, or an artist.
But really. The work you make is important.
Think of all the creative work that has affected your life. That has given you a...
The modern entrepreneur's vocabulary is filled with statements like these.
"Rise and grind."
"Hustle like you mean it."
"Your dreams only work as hard as you do."
We've even said a couple of those to you guys. And while there's a lot of truth there, there's a lot of danger too.
One of the reasons we started working for ourselves was because we were tired of other people deciding what we were worth. Michelle was putting 70 hours a week into teaching, planning lessons, and grading. One year, she was even honored as Teacher of the Year.
She got a plaque.
No bonus, no raise, no pizza party. Just a plaque, and some snot-nosed students asking, "how come she got Teacher of the Year?"
She got paid the same for busting her ass as she would have if she just had the kids watch videos and fill out worksheets every day.
After I got laid off, she decided she was going to bust her ass for herself, and put in her notice.
Things have been busy over here at the FitzGerald household. Not only are we working hard to build up resources for all you killer creators, but on Sunday, we're throwing the fourth Rebel Art Fest, our very own art and music festival!
A few years ago, we saw a gap in our local community. There were tons of great artists who were a little outside of the "mainstream." Artists whose work was a little too out there or too outsider or too niche or too punk rock for the mainstream audience, so they often got overlooked at other art shows and music festivals. But that didn't mean they were any less deserving of celebration.
Then we had a funny thought...
What if we just organized our own festival for them?
We filed a street closure permit with the city, called some artist and musician friends, and just did the damn thing. We put a tent in our parking lot and borrowed a sound system from a friend. We lined up artists on the sidewalk outside of our shop.
And people actually...
While it might be hard to guess by looking at us now, Michelle and I haven’t always been successful creatives.
Once upon a time, our alarm clocks were set to six in the morning, and we’d wake up, put on business attire, and go work our “real jobs” at a charter school. Then we’d get home at around 6:30, scarf down some microwave dinners, and then watch Netflix while we graded papers or planned lessons.
Michelle has been a painter since elementary school. When we met in college, she was always working on something. She was an English major, but as long as I knew her, she spent a ton of time in the art building.
When we were dating, I gave her this big canvas for her birthday. And the whole time we were teaching, that canvas sat in the corner, still wrapped, still blank.
On my end, I’ve been writing songs since middle school. In college, I was performing at open mics almost...
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