I vividly remember my first piano lesson with Joan Gillespie in second grade. I rode my bike to her house, which I had trouble finding, and then we went over "D is for the doggy with the two black ears." It was just fun. I fell in love with music at the moment I walked in Joan's house, and that feeling has stuck with me for quite a long time.

Me with my first piano teacher!

Over time, I changed from piano to percussion and went on to receive three degrees in music, all inspired by those early experiences with Joan.

But something tragic happened, starting around 2011. I started to become burned out. Music wasn't as fun anymore; it was a lot of work (as you might imagine for a doctoral program). Even more than that, though, I was in a bad living situation, the details of which I won't list here. I didn't realize it at the time, but when I look back now, I realize I was deeply depressed. This thing that brought me so much joy for so many years seemed to have dried up.

I pushed through for a few years, and things eventually started to get better. I was in a much better living situation, had great friends and teachers, and began making a little bit of money from my chosen profession.

Then enter 2016: the year I found Jacob Collier on YouTube.

I was just blown away (like everyone is) by his music. If you haven't listened to Jacob, just stop reading now and watch every YouTube video he has. No seriously, I'll wait. Go. https://www.youtube.com/user/jacobcolliermusic

But what struck me even more than the talent was the joy. There is no worry of hitting wrong notes, poor critique, or any of the other things musicians lose sleep over. Just pure unadulterated joy.

I was lucky to go see him play live in Dallas and happened to see him before the show. I walked up and chatted for just a few minutes. He is an just a perfect human being—no hint of an ego or insecurity. He was even kind to snap a photo with me!

They say don't meet your heroes. They were wrong.

So to close out 2016, I thought it would be appropriate to do a Jacob Collier cover—my first cover video ever!

Thanks so much to Jacob for inspiring me and helping me find joy all over again.

AuthorBenjamin Charles