I live, eat and breathe music. It is the core of my existence and the purpose of my being. As far back as I can remember, music has been my outlet of expressing emotion, connecting to people, and searching for purpose. There is a story circulating within my family about me at around age 3: I am riding my rocking horse ferociously -back and forth, back and forth - listening to "Back in the Saddle Again" by Gene Autry on the record player. I stop only to start the song over again...and again. (And again.) Fast forward twenty some years and it isn’t an unusual scene for my wife to find me passed out on the couch at 4 am with my headphones on, listening to my newest favorite song on repeat. I feel the song; I need the song; I live the song. And the song lives within me.
My songs are my life, my thoughts, my interpretation of existence, my message and my connection to people. Music is not just my job, it is my lifestyle. I like to think of it as a healthy desire, but it’s probably more of an obsession. At 17 I left home to be a folksinger inspired by Woody Guthrie and Ramblin' Jack. I wanted to sing the truth. The only way to play my music was to leave behind everything that held me back which, consequently, was also everything I knew. Since that moment, I have played on the side of roads, in bars, in coffee shops, in churches and in strangers' homes. I have played in the rain, in the heat and in the cold. I have slept on the side of roads, found my darkest moments crying, alone, stranded in the rain, and found pure joy in the faces of people dancing to the music that I create.
In my journeys I have faced a multitude of hardships; emotionally, financially and physically, but the rewards of connecting with and moving people have rewarded me ten fold. It is through music that I survive and it is through music that I live my purpose
RUMEYSA (THE BLONDE)
When I was a child, my Turkish mother and aunts would occasionally get together to help each other through emotional hardships. They would drink, listen to music and cry. They would repeat the same songs over and over again, repeating the lines that resonated most with them for this particular situation. They would hug, kiss and cry some more. Although I didn’t always understand the depth of the situation, I felt it. I hugged too. I cried also. I obsessed and lingered over the message in the songs. I continue this tradition to this day - with loved ones, or alone. Music is my lifestyle, as it lives through me and as I live through it.
I never once sang or performed in front of a crowd until I met Daniel. I sang in the shower a lot. I sang at the top of my lungs in the car with my sister on long road trips. And often, I sang to myself. Personality tests through high school and college always said the same thing: performer. But I never thought of myself as a performer until this man entered my life with a whirlwind of ferocity so strong it made me reevaluate my entire take on life. I had been a contradiction of sorts, overwhelmingly outgoing and spontaneous yet scared of life in a way. I sought adventure, but played it safe. By riding the wave of music, I overcame fear and learned to live.
From the perspective of a military child, I have no sense of home, or belonging, or affiliation. I was taken all over Europe, Turkey, the USA. From dinners with four star generals to hanging in the slums of local life, I connected with whatever environment was provided to me. I learned to be at home anywhere and everywhere and to connect with people on any level of common ground however small or large.
So, Daniel tells me I have a nice voice and great rhythm. I find myself letting go of fear. I had been primed for conventional success, and yet despised everything about normalcy, but held on because I knew nothing else. I quit my job that had been plaguing my well being for two years and started living my life the way I wanted to live it. I started playing at farmer markets, open mics and busking on the side of the road. I lived in a van for two months and found faith in human goodness that I had almost lost amidst personal struggle. I sang and I played and I connected with people in a way I never thought imaginable. And I found my purpose.
We have been playing together for nearly five years now. We have played farmers markets, street corners, coffee shops, bars, theaters, basements, bedrooms, living rooms, campfires and happily spent months on the road.
The songs are created from observation, speculation and pondering on life while traveling through different places and meeting new people as the road less followed continues to unfold...