Every Penny, Every Stream, Every Song
I've been a firefighter, paramedic, special operations captain and chief officer. It's been a pretty blessed life. That said, the career of a 1st Responder does not exist without a dark side. The exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, depression, shift schedule, and trauma witnessed can lead you down the wrong paths in an attempt to cope. Music saved me when I was in some pretty dark places.
I decided a little over a year ago that I would try something different and do what many 1st responders deem the unthinkable: I gave up alcohol. It's embedded in fire service culture to drink heavily at all social events, to take the edge off, to relax, as a sleep aid and even to feel "normal". Giving it up would require a lifestyle approach that would be drastically different. Being that I'm quite the social butterfly, I didn't want to stop attending all our bonding events. I'd be lying if I felt participating sober was going to be easy breezy change.
Looking at what I should do with, like, all of my free time now, I dove back into music. Songwriting was my Right Brain outlet; a way to escape logic and reason for a bit and navigate a world of creativity and imagination. Music didn't require hyper-vigilance, steadfast assessment and decision-making, or a response for help at 0200. It required a willingness to enter a flow-state, be fully present and let go. Three things that I love feeling, yet struggle with in my daily life.
In my desire to bring a few songs to life in an album, I met some of the best musicians, engineers, and overall people. I plan on writing about that more deeply another time. Then once the tunes were ready for sharing and circulating, COVID crushed the music industry, indefinitely.
But like I said, I've been more fortunate than most, even through the pandemic. I kept my day job and ability to provide for my family. So, time to give back. I have 10 songs on my new album Lightning in a Bottle that I worked hard on and am very proud of. It's just been sitting here, aside from a couple singles I released last summer. I'm giving it all back to the universe, and to all those that need to benefit from any revenue stream it may create. Every penny from every stream of every song is given to different 1st responder organizations that build better mental health and wellness for those that sacrifice so much for others. Just listening to any of the songs is your donation. The pennies from streams trickle in, but they do add up when spread out over time and multiple platforms. Once we can create larger gatherings again, I can target specific organizations to raise money though live concerts. For now, it'll be Local Union charities and causes.
So listen away my friends, and please share the mission! My hope is that this becomes a terrible business decision for me personally, and a $1,000,000 for those organizations that can make an impact on some of the best-hearted individuals on earth when they need it the most.