The Old Musician

by Andre Gonsalves


We can’t run from it. Sure some get surgery, hair transplants, butt transplants, botox injections, chin lifts all to look a “bit” younger. But they just end up looking silly.

I feel sad when a girl tells me she wants a nose job and even sadder when she says she wants a boob job. I’m not entirely comfortable with aging, and anyone that says they are is lying. It’s a major buzz kill.

A few years ago, my eyes started to go. Doctor said it was from starring at a computer screen all day. Mind you it’s very mild, only -1.25, but it scared the hell out of me. Wearing glasses? Hell no. Not for me.

Now I love wearing them. I love seeing how beautiful the world really is in crisp high definition. Makes me wonder about all the details I missed out on or more specifically makes me question if the girl I saw was really as attractive as my less than perfect eyesight would have me believe (I hope my wife doesn’t read this).

So what does this have to do with music? Being aware you’re getting old is scary, especially to the creative, because it feels like your time has passed. You see people younger than you accomplishing so much and wonder what you were doing all those years? You start overthinking your creative decisions. “I need to make a hit song before it’s too late”, you say to yourself. I don’t know how productive this is. On one hand, having your back against the wall, can produce winning results. “Hey it’s either do or die” right? On the other hand, too much pressure and you’ll crumble. Anyone would. So how do you overcome this?

Keep working. Keep making bad songs, keep dropping bad videos. Eventually they’ll become decent songs and decent videos. And if you keep at it long enough you’ll make greatness. But it takes time. Every new rapper I hear sounds like Drake or Lil Wayne (which is funny because when Drake came out people thought he was Lil Wayne). Do you think these artists will last? Not a chance.

And it’s not just rap filled with wannabes, every genre has a swath of wannabes that seem to resurrect every time someone rises up that’s worthy of being copied. As someone with years in the game, you shouldn’t be worried about the newcomers, they’ll kill themselves eventually. Just keep doing the work that matters and for musicians that means keep making songs.

But even still this probably wont work either. There’s tons of “failed” and “old” musicians, just go to the local guitar store and they’ll be sure to tell you their war stories and the times they “almost made it”. That’s why I think “making it”, whatever that means shouldn’t be the end goal. For artists, a better end goal is enjoying the journey.

Jay Z could lose all his money tomorrow and his vocal chords could become damaged as a result of Solange stabbing him with one of Beyonce’s heels. Would Jay then still be considered the success he is now? Hell no. He’s be lumped in with the Vanilla Ice’s of the world (even Vanila Ice has reinvented himself lately and he may not even be considered a failure anymore).

The good thing about getting old beside compound interest is that you get to enjoy the game longer. That’s the end goal. Now keep on playing.



Andre is the head audio engineer at ADG Mastering. When he's not hunched over a mixing console he's hanging out with his son and daughter age 6 and 8.

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