They say it is never too late to go after your dream, just as long as you start.
I spent a good portion of my life doing what I thought I wanted to do, being a chef. I had dreams of owning my own restaurant and just doing the best I could and have a successful career in that. I ran a couple places and I got first hand knowledge of what it was like to own a place. I worked very close with the owners, and not only did I see my reposibilties as a manager, I saw theirs as owners. I realized maybe I didn’t want to own a place after all. I don’t know, the jury is still out on that, to a degree. Anyway, after I moved away from there I just worked as a regular employee in various restaurants and decided I needed to get out of it. I always had a dream of making a life in music, in any capacity.
Many years ago, I used to do Elvis shows. Sure, I put on a good show with the band that let me sing with them, but it was obvious my voice needed work. I figured if I put on a good show, it didn’t matter. Fortunately, I only did that for fun anyway. It was good time for me, as well the band and the audience. I knew I would never make a living at it. There has always been something in me though where I had to have music around me and I love to entertain. I bought a tenor saxophone in my 20s, and for whatever reason, nothing happened with that. I can make excuses, but I know it was my fault. I sold it. It was a very sad day when I did that.
Several years later, I acquired an alto saxophone. I just wanted to be able to play again. I played it in Jr High and part of High School. When I started to take music classes at an arts school in Portsmouth NH (Portsmouth Music and Arts Center, pmaconline.org) my teacher encouraged us to write a composition. Well, I did. Then I wrote another, and another and so on. I had written enough to do a demo cd. I gave one to everyone I knew and some people I didn’t know. That was more of a labor of love. I just kept writing compositions and at every school concert, we played them, along with other student compositions. It was a great time of discovery for me.
Then there was the RPM Challenge in 2009. The challenge: write and record either 10 songs or 35 minutes of music in the month of February, in other words, produce an album. So I did that last year and it was the best February ever! Most of the tunes from that album can be found at http://www.myspace.com/trainwreckjazz as well as a couple of tunes from my first disc. My new solo tunes can be found at reverbnation.com/jamesrinalduccijazz.
When I came to Savannah Jazz Festival last year, I saw an opportunity. I saw some people here working as street musicians; buskers, and thought “I can do that.” It isn’t glamourous, but, it sure is fun. I figured I can work on my own tunes while I learn other ones that people know, and play every single day in front of people. It isn’t the best way to get started, especially at this stage in life, however, like the first sentence in this blog said, it is never too late, as long as you start. Besides, Jimmy Buffet and Tracy Chapman started out as street musicians. I believe anything is possible. So when I got back from the festival last year I gave a 30 day notice and quit the restaurant business, of which I had been in all my life. Yeah, it was scary, but I just thought of all the possibilities. So far, it has been a wonderful adventure and I love it. Just like anything else, it has its ups and downs. But, I go out every single day and play in front of people. I am even able to play gigs as a solo saxophone player in some of the places here.
I am happy and grateful for the support of my friends and my family and their belief in what I am doing. Yeah, I am what they call a late bloomer, but I suppose it is better than never blooming. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation” Just remember, it is never too late to pursue your dream, just do long as you start.
Thank you for reading this post. -James