Doing the work
Success isn’t about the destination, but rather the journey
Christmas lights are twinkling in the evening and the radio is full of tunes of love, joy and peace. Here we are, nearly smack dab in the middle of December and I’m getting into the Christmas spirit and my preoccupation is with gifts, ordering, sending, receiving them, all complicated by the recent labour dispute at Canada Post. As of this moment though, I think I’ve done all I can so, success!
My favourite gift is the opportunity for good conversation, and recently I had the pleasure of sitting in the studio with singer-songwriter Nick Earle of the highly successful folk/blues duo Earle and Coffin, who, together, have racked up an impressive collection of nominations from MusicNL and just won Young Artists of the Year at The Canadian Folk Music Awards
“To be recognized for what we do is an honour,” Earle says, and adds that their recent Canadian Folk award is especially gratifying since they weren’t sure they’d be accepted as Folk artists.
He notes they’ve won the award twice because they’re still so young. That’s right. Earle is still just 19.
An accidental blues singer, Earle found a record with an interesting cover at Costco when he as nine. It was a Stevie Ray Vaughn album, an artist he considers his main inspiration. He chose blues because he loved it and because, “despite what people think, blues is not sad, but rather a venting process. You vent out your sorrows.”
Most people would ride the wave of the band’s success for a while, but perhaps youth is a bonus given the ease with which Earle slipped into doing a solo project and that’s what we were there to chat about.
“I found I could express myself in more than just blues music,” he said.
Earle describes his solo sound as “somewhere between folk rock, mushy folk.”
“It’s interesting to not have to filter your ideas through anyone else so all that you create is your own,” he said, adding that while this is a good thing, it can cut the other way as well, when there is less opportunity for feedback.
The tentative title of the album is “Lovers turned Strangers”. Most songs have catchy hooks and a few to sing along to.
Earle is enjoying the process. “It’s like building a house, first you lay down the foundation, and go from there,” he says of their career to date and this new foray into the unknown.
Earle got me thinking about the concept of success, having experienced it at such an early stage in his career. When I look at others, I often consider them successful while thinking that in my own life, there is so much more work to be done before I can make that claim.
The transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau said, “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” And of course, hard work is a part of the equation. But perhaps it’s beyond that. Maybe it’s not some distant goal we work towards when we achieve a point at which we say, “we’ve reached it.” Maybe it’s a journey, made up of tiny accomplishments and overcoming failures and that we can claim in many times over a lifetime.
Success is not a place you arrive at but rather, if you’re trying, if you’re out there doing the work, if you’re “in the arena,” as Brene Brown says, then you’re already successful.
A full interview with Nick Earle will air on the Bridges Radio program available on podcasts on all major platforms and at https:// www.spreaker.com/show/bridgesradios-show