Jam. Collaborate. Explore.

Those three words can be found on the vision board I created at the beginning of this year. I think it speaks volumes to what my goals are in the creation of (one of) my big goals that I plan to hit on my birthday October. It’s basically what will become my album as the whole concept behind it is to work with as many of the artists that I have worked with in the past in the performance and recording of my project. I’ll write the music, I’ll write the lyrics, but not completely on my own. (Well, the lyrics will most likely be all me.) I suppose you could call it my personal thanks to all of the musicians who helped me get to where I am right now, and helped me to learn what to do (and what not to do) in this process of recording music.

I’ve been playing in bands since I was around 9 or 10 years old, since the music school I went to (and would go on to teach at) runs a rock band program. I started out on the drums, because I always wanted to learn how to play them, even though I had already been playing piano for 2 or 3 years by that point. Eventually, through the years at that academy, I would end up playing every rock band instrument for at least one session or season. Rhythm guitar, lead guitar, piano, bass, and even vocals, I did it all. Being able to do this meant that I was a pretty good resource to have around in a band because I could fill in any gap, or add a plethora of elements to an already established setup.

Professionally, I’ve been a part of a pop-rock-alt band as a keyboardist and a backup vocalist, with whom I recorded the first album I’ve ever been a part of. I wrote 20+ songs as lead guitarist with a band I helped form, but we just couldn’t fill out the rest of our instruments due to scheduling conflicts and lack of resources. (The singer and I may still resurrect these ideas in the future.) I played bass for an instrumental funk-groove-rock trio as a replacement player, writing a couple of tunes for them along the way. I played keys for one of the most gifted singer-songwriters I’ve ever known, before she passed away at a young age. (I love you and miss you, Cristina Taborda.) I currently play percussion and drums for the lovely and talented Arlene Paculan and I am also her session guitarist and bassist. And of course, I play my own stuff too, which is currently alternating between rap with a guitar, and DJing.

But all of these experiences, all of this talent, all of these incredible human beings, would not have happened if I didn’t have the drive to jam, collaborate, and explore. And it’s not as if I’ve been missing that and that’s why I put it on my vision board. It’s more of a reminder that the best things can happen and the most memorable experiences can take place when you keep yourself open to those three words.

So do it. You don’t have to be a musician to jam. There are many creative collective collaborations in several different forms that you could call a “jam”. You just have to be ready give, take, and share your ideas, say “yes” to other people’s ideas, and explore it all together.


– Mickey

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