How can this be my life? That was really cool!
That's the thought that went through my mind about two months ago when Erich Thompson, lead singer of the Stone Cold Cowboys, gave me a shout out from the stage at Martini's and told everyone about Peoria Music Live, the night I took the picture above.
It was awesome and scary at the same time. Totally caught off guard, I had no idea how to react. My heart was pounding in my ears. I don't even know what I did. Look around? Stare at the ground? Stare at him like an idiot, and hope I didn't have a dumb look on my face? Probably that last one.
I've actually had that thought several times in the months since I started Peoria Music Live. "How can this be my life!?!" It almost doesn't make sense to me some days.
First, I am not a music expert.
My church has a fantastic not-your-typical-church band and I've always loved listening to them... especially when they just jam. (See video)
Beyond that though, I didn't even seek out live music before last summer.
Phrases like Peoria Music Scene or Peoria Music Culture meant nothing to me six months ago.
When I saw Sunshine Daydream, the Grateful Dead Tribute band - I had never heard any of the songs before. If someone had told me they were an original band, I would have believed it. My exposure to music over the years has been a lot more limited than I realized.
Yet, here I am... having some of the most fun I've ever had in my life...
I get to help revitalize the Peoria music scene, getting people to work together to show the world what Peoria has to offer. I love that I get to introduce more people to live music experiences they wouldn't have known about without PML.
Here are just a few of my favorite moments from the last couple of months...
In December I was invited to a private Henhouse Prowlers concert at Village Coworking. Not only did I get to enjoy the show in a relaxed, homey setting, but I was able to take someone else who was not familiar with their music who ended up loving it as well.
One of the goals of Peoria Music Live is to make new fans of live music... and this night I got to watch it happen right before my eyes, on an individual level. It was thrilling.
I bought their newest CD before it was officially released and learned that they do so much more than travel and play Bluegrass music. I'm hoping to finish a blog post about them soon!
Another thing has blown me away this last few months. I already can't count the number of times people have walked up to me at music venues and said, "Are you Kindall from Peoria Music Live?" It's exciting that more people are hearing about PML, but I'm still always surprised.
Not as surprised as I was when Brian Carroll from JammSammich asked me to take a selfie with him when I introduced myself! It's awesome to know that what I'm doing is appreciated.
Because I see so much music, I often end up in the right place at the right time. At least once every weekend, one local musician will be out to support another and is asked to join the band on stage.
My favorites so far have been Matt Miller singing with the Stone Cold Cowboys, Ryan Davidson (from Woodland Remedy) playing with the Henhouse Prowlers at that private concert, and PhanieRae singing with Still Shine. (See video)
Over and over again, I think, How can this be my life!?!
Just because all these fantastic things are happening, it doesn't mean this is easy for me now. While it is better, the anxiety that I talked about in my first couple of blog posts still catches me some days.
A couple weeks ago, I headed to Tannins & Hops to see a band, not knowing this venue is a speakeasy.
Because I didn't know, I didn't do any research on getting in. I actually had the beginnings of a panic attack trying to find it for about twenty minutes before I decided to just move on to the next venue.
I later found this video... I'll know next time! Watch it so you know too!
Another night, a friend saw that someone he thought I should introduce myself to had checked in at the same place I was. So the friend sent me a message with a picture.
I started looking at people near me to see if I recognized anyone. Instead I was looking in the eyes of one person after another after another who I didn't know... Suddenly overwhelmed, I walked right out the door and to my car.
I later told him, "I know you don't have a lot of experience with this, but single girls do not stand in busy bars full of people... looking them in the face. In fact, we avoid eye contact at all costs!" It's kind of funny now, but in the moment, I could not get out of there fast enough. I was definitely thinking, "How can this be my life!?! I am NOT cut out for this!"
Sometimes people assume there is a celebrity issue involved. I've been told. "Celebrities are just regular people!" like that will help. Honestly, I am the least-phased person I know by celebrity. The problem is... they are regular people! Social anxiety happens with regular people.
Every time I have one of these moments, I think to myself, "How is this my life!?!" followed by "Don't they know I'm not qualified for this?"
But I keep doing it, because despite the struggle, I love it. I'm not going to quit.
So, why am I sharing this part as well as the fun part? For one reason only...
I know there are other people who deal with anxiety. It isn't easy. It doesn't just go away. But it doesn't have to keep you from doing something awesome... because let me assure you, this is just about the most fun I've had in my entire life.
With a little hard work, forcing yourself to step outside your comfort zones, and having some faith that God has given you the ability to do what you need to do... you will have some of those great "How can this be my life!?!" moments too!
As I was writing this, someone from a band messaged me to tell me thank you for what I'm doing.