How a tiny village in Iceland convinced me to do this for a living

I had been writing and performing music semi-professionally for over a decade before I decided to try to make this my full-time job. I’ve done a lot of different things – copywriting for an ad agency, hosting TV shows, stand-up comedy, translations, directing and much, much more, but music was always a part-time thing for me.

Until a couple of years ago, when I spent a couple of months in a tiny village in the west of Iceland called Hólmavík. This is truly the most beautiful and peaceful place on earth, and the locals are among the most wonderful people I’ve ever met. I was hired to direct the local amateur theater company in a production of Sweeney Todd. I spent two months in the local hotel, in the middle of winter, and when I wasn’t busy with rehearsals or doing some translation work for a TV station I sometimes freelance for, I was working on my music. It’s really amazing what a change of scenery and a change of pace will do for you, artistically.

The show went very well, despite setbacks that really should have ruined it (the lead actress broke her arm four days before opening night!), and after it was done I decided to play some music there. There was a festival on that weekend, called The Disaster Weekend, and I figured I couldn’t leave without playing that. My artist name is One Bad Day, after all.

So I asked to play the local Witchcraft museum (yes, they have a Witchcraft museum, run by a mad genius who has since become a dear friend of mine), and the night after we opened Sweeney Todd I stood there with my guitars and sang my songs.

The crowd mostly consisted of my friends from the play, and their friends and family. And of course, most of them were still exhausted, since we had opened the show the night before and they had not been able to rest properly. A couple fell asleep. I was fine with that.

So as I stood there, playing to a small but incredibly receptive crowd, I felt something. I had just finished directing a huge show, which was a wonderful experience, albeit very stressful, and I was certainly still riding the high from that, but this was even better. The connection I felt to those people, the one I feel every time I play a successful show, was almost overwhelmingly wonderful. I played for almost two hours, and when I was done my friends took me on a road trip to some natural hot tubs nearby, where we sat, in a raging blizzard, and chatted into the night. Afterwards I thought to myself: I want this to be my life. Not the hot tub part (although hot tubs are very nice), but the music, the connection.

After I left Hólmavík, I went straight to my next job. I was hired to write and perform music for a theater production of a play called King Ubu, an absurdist play by a french man named Alfred Jarry. That production was a huge hit, and we’ve taken it to Austria (where we were the hit of an international theater festival), and we’re taking it to Monaco next August. That experience only solidified my commitment.

As I’ve written about before I have struggled with depression in the past, and I have some social anxiety issues sometimes (nothing serious). Connecting with people through music is my favorite part of life. That’s how I met my wife – I sang to her. Most of my best friends I’ve met through music. That’s why I’m so excited that you are reading this, and why I want to keep sharing my music with you. If I’m able to move you even a little bit with it, I’m ecstatic.

So to that end, here’s me performing Tom Waits’ Tom Traubert’s Blues. Enjoy.

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Right Sidebar

A right column layout example. The sidebar is independent from the Mainbody so can have multiple rows and columns, separate from the Mainbody area.

Flexible Layouts

Gantry 5 benefits from a flexible and intuitive, drag & drop layout manager. You can add as many rows and blocks to each section as you desire, and configure their distance to intervals of 1%.

Each block has individual controls, such as an autocomplete select box for box variations, as well as individual CSS fields.

H5 Heading

Vestibulum mollis, est id rhoncus volutpat, dolor velit tincidunt neque, vitae pellentesque ante sem eu nisl. Donec facilisis, magna eget elementum pellentesque.