THE MUSIC NERD
The music nerd, in his 30s now, felt like his life was not going anywhere anytime soon. He hated his job; he was as single as ever. He hadn’t played music in years and wouldn’t even mention to anyone that he had two degrees in music, that he had performed on stage or that he had written hundreds of songs.
One Summer day, the master, the music nerd’s lifelong musical hero, performed a surprise concert in his town and the music nerd was present. He was so present and inspired by the Master and his young new band, that the next Monday he quit his job.
He decided to go on a path of reinvention so that he could return to do what he did best: Write and record a new album. This one was going to be called “Reinvented”. It was going to be upbeat, from beginning to end. It was going to be modern sounding and better than anything he had ever done. He believed he could achieve this, that he must… To salvage any chance of realizing his dreams. He lived his life like a movie, with the universe directing mysteriously, believing somehow all the pieces will fit.
He needed to move to an apartment he could afford where he could make some noise. He needed to buy a new computer, get access to an electric guitar, a microphone, a bass guitar and upgrade his music recording software. Within a month, he found the perfect apartment for his needs. He bought a new laptop and bass guitar. He borrowed an electric guitar and a microphone from two of his friends. He upgraded his software and began learning how to use it. He was looking for a job to be able to continue paying his bills and after a month or so, he was offered a better position by the same company he had quit not long before. The pieces were starting to fit; the new album was underway.
Months went by and after having written several songs the music nerd suffered from a mean case of writers block that nearly ended production on the album. He began interviewing younger musicians (rappers, punk rockers, etc) to learn about new styles of music, hoping this would inspire him.
Luckily, on March 21, 2016, the Master decided to return for another surprise concert. This was going to be a solo piano and vocal concert. The music nerd went hoping to once again be inspired. He came out of the concert with the Master’s new album, which was handed out to the audience after the show. The music nerd thought to himself:
“If Prince is still out there performing… releasing amazing new albums… why should I even try? He is THE MASTER and he is going stronger than ever.”
On April 21, the Master, Prince died unexpectedly. The music nerd was in denial of this for a while, but somehow he felt the drive and the inspiration to complete “Reinvented”.
Soon after the music nerd was offered to add guitars and keyboards to an album in the making by Test Tube Jesus. http://testtubejesus.bandcamp.com/album/cocks-eye-view. The death of Prince also brought him back to working with the amazing singer Stephanie Caprara, herself a Prince fan.
The music nerd’s romantic life left much to be desired. He had fallen in love a couple of times, but at this point in his life he didn’t see himself getting married and having kids. One day his family told him about a girl they had met, someone intelligent, beautiful, and single. He said he would give her a call the next day. What’s there to lose anyway?
With that single phone call, he knew he met his wife. They met in person that same week. It was love at first sight. They had spoken for the first time on the last day of August 2016 and they decided to get married by November 2016. This was the beginning of ‘happily eva after’.
The truth of the matter is, life is not like a movie. We don’t have flying cars. We have mass shootings and wars. Survival in this dangerous and crazy world is a challenge. Seeing the news everyday, it feels like the end of the world itself is not far. Within all this destruction and hopelessness, the music nerd didn’t give up. The music nerd believed in himself, in working hard day in day out, and no matter what, if he didn’t work to fulfill his dreams, no one would.
The music nerd, Rizwan (me), is set to release Reinvented on March 21, 2017; the one year anniversary of the last time I saw Prince perform that solo piano and vocal concert. March 21 happens to also be my wife’s birthday. The pieces have somehow fit together.
***May 22nd update: The album is available on various major digital platforms like Spotify, including iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/reinvented/id1219179935
Greg Gallagher, for believing in my abilities, for being the album’s ‘executive consultant’, for being my photographer, videographer and my best friend for the last couple of years.
Sasha, for lending me your electric guitar indefinitely.
Jay Castro, for lending me your awesome microphone and preamp.
Marz, for being my close companion as I worked on the album, for providing me with inspiration and making me feel like a rockstar.
Natalie, for helping me with my short lived project of interviewing musicians and all the inspiration you have provided over the years, your faith in God and for surviving through all that comes your way.
Deb, for being my friend whenever I needed one.
Matt, for your help in various ways that helped shape the album (especially your vocal pitch correction work throughout the album) and for making me feel like I have talent.
Andy Dee, for playing bass on the song ‘Good Things’. Dude, you so funky.
Oscar G and The 5 O’Clock Slot, Waza-J and your band YoungOldTeam (YGT) and Brian MacMillan for the interviews that inspired me.
To everyone, friends, family and strangers, whose comments and likes have helped me to continue through this project as I posted demos online.
My family, particularly my mother and father, for being a continuous source of love and support.
Prince, you are the master. You’ve been my greatest teacher and source of inspiration in my life. You may be gone but your music will outlive us all.
My wife… You are the miracle in my story that makes me believe that my wildest dreams are possible. You made my life better than any movie. This is what happily eva after feels like, my love.
Thank you for reading my story.