Part 2: 6 Lessons from New York City to Charlotte
In September over 6-weeks, singer/songwriter Johan Danno traveled 2,500 miles and performed 12-shows across the USA. In the process, he discovered 12 life lessons that changed his life and I hope will help change yours! Introducing – a week into the life and on the road- Part II!
It’s now 5 hours before show time. We call everyone from last night, run to his fraternity house to send a massive mail-out and social media blast, organize equipment, call Jeff to drive in from Boston, and hours later somehow pull off a 4 hour show with no practice nor sleep. This introduces Lesson 7: “when things flow, let go, go with it and enjoy as anything can happen.”
It’s 5:30 pm the next day in Manhattan. Coming out of my daydream, we’ve now caught up to where my story began. As clarity and a buzz seeps in, the Sake is drank and felt, check paid, set-list now written, and we are on way to our Air BnB to get my equipment. Arriving with time to spare, we discover the key the owner made won’t work! It’s a whirlwind of calls and bartering till finally, we get in, back in the car, and now arrive at the Bowery Electric with 5 minutes before my show.
If you’re following this so far, here is why we have “leave yourself extra time” as lesson 1! Walking in I learn they’ve moved my show up half hour early, and even with friends and fans there and from Australia, I’ve missed my set. Luckily being my second time performing Bowery, I had to remind myself: “Stay cool, always. Make friends with the people you work with, make sure to leave good impressions.”
I put my gear down, race downstairs to plead my case with Ryan the manager of Bowery Electric. Serving up a healthy dish of compliments and double serving of apologies, I explain my shituation. “Be ready in 5 min Johan, I can give you a 25 minute set, only.”
Graced by the gods and Zeus himself, the fans will have a show! In record time, I tune up, get in the zone, and proceed to not only not suck but also by most accounts, blow the show out of the water. I’m grinning ear to ear like a stoned Cheshire cat, amazement at how I just pulled that off, yet conscious of my delirious state from lack of sleep. Riding the intoxicating buzz of stress, excitement, and confusion that encompasses a show on the brink or being on tour. This is when we invite everyone from the show, for drinks at a local dive bar. Introducing Lesson 8: “Always celebrate your success with the people who helped make it successful.”
Still smiling and 4 drinks plus some shots in, I’m surrounded by the best people money can’t buy and good vibes that could get Donald Trump retired. Mr. LA Jordan asks me “do you want to meet the CEO of a budding IT start-up called Centiment tomorrow to free-style battle with the CEO, Micah, between filming?” Thinking to my bus departure time, 3 hours after the proposed time, I decided to capitalize on Lesson 9: “if opportunity knocks or something sounds awesome, trust your gut and do what it says!”
At this point readers, I would love to say I won the battle or made my bus… but being bested lyrically by a polite black English gentleman is nothing to be ashamed of. Missing your bus though is. Having exchanged an amethyst crystal for a new phone charger, my phone turns on to discover it’s now an hour ’til my bus leaves NYC!
In a New York minute, I get to the bus station. Realizing my bags from the Air BnB need to arrive, which they do, right when the Charlotte bus that can get me to my show on time, has left. Frustration, anger, cursing, the dark wolf now consumes me and my thoughts…. it’s time to make a decision with my limited funds. There is no way I was missing this show. Which brings us to Lesson 10: “the people that you matter to, always show they matter to you.”
After a 2 hour nap on the bus station floor, I grab the city bus to the airport, planning to grab the next plane to Charlotte. This show was special in that, it had been organized by Thomas, a fan that had discovered me on Instagram. As I told him on the phone, no matter the cost or if it killed it, I will not miss this show nor meeting him.
Exiting the station in New York, the warmth of an incredible sunrise between the buildings in Time Square hits my face. I forget my exhaustion, my frustration, and it dawns on me… if everything had gone to plan, I would not have experienced my first NYC sunrise. This is why sometimes it’s ok, when things don’t go according to plan.
Touch down Charlotte hours later, Thomas scoops me up along with the rental speaker, and we arrive at the small town of Matthews, North Carolina, to setup at “Little Bar”. Half dead from exhaustion and travel, I somehow muster up an engaging 3 hour live show, invite the beautiful bartender Ali Rose to perform with me on stage, and proceed to sell the most merch of any show to date on the tour! This leads to Lesson 11: “life rewards you when you do the right thing.”
I may be falling asleep from exhaustion, but through long chats with Thomas, I’m feeling beyond grateful I made the decisions to be here. Packing up, Ali Rose comes over to me and ask if she can cover my song “Fall in Line” and if I will teach it to her on guitar – probably one of the coolest moments of my career so far.
This is where our story ends, but the lessons live on. Travelling, it’s between the adventures and moments that you learn Lesson 12: “life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.”
It’s less about you and more about the people you spend it with, which in the end, shapes who we are. We lose touch with why we do what we do, who we are, and rob ourselves of us when we try to control life or outcomes, driven by money, ego, fame, or wanting to be accepted.
If you loose touch, things go wrong, you doubt yourself, what you’re doing, or have to make difficult life decisions, remember life is a daring adventure or nothing at all. Stay grounded, hungry, humble, happy and know that even when life doesn’t go to plan, maybe, life has a better plan for you!
· Lesson 7: “When things flow, let go, go with it and enjoy as anything can happen.”
· Lesson 8: “Always celebrate your success with the people who helped make it successful.”
· Lesson 9: “If opportunity knocks or something sounds awesome, trust your gut and do what it says!”
· Lesson 10: “The people that you matter to, always show they matter to you.”
· Lesson 11: “Life rewards you when you do the right thing.”
· Lesson 12: “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.”
Listen to Johan Danno’s EP, Purpose & Peace, below:
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