Losing a steady job can be catastrophic and heartbreaking. For singer/songwriter Justin Trawick, his dismissal was a case of divine intervention.
Trawick was working as an accounts manager for SoundExchange, a nonprofit company that collects performance royalties from satellite radio and other avenues for musicians, when he was let go in November.
“Initially, I was really bummed about losing my job,” Trawick recalls. “I remember leaving the office after receiving the news and just sitting in the park down the street, wondering what I was going to do [and] how I was going to tell my parents.
“But I started thinking about how this was what I always wanted,” he adds. “I started remembering how I would go to work every day for the last two years and talk to musicians on the phone all day and just wish I was them, doing what they love to do. So ultimately, I think this was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I was a young man with no wife, girlfriend, children, mortgage or alimony. I wasn’t responsible for anyone else but myself.”
Trawick says his friends were supportive, and so were his parents, although he admits it took them a while to warm up to him choosing to be a full-time musician. Having made a name for himself the past two years around the Washington, D.C., area, Trawick says making the transition to a full-time musician wasn’t difficult in terms of making sure he had enough money for rent, health insurance and other major expenses.
“Music is paying the bills for the most part,” he says. “I am also working a small part-time job as a social media community coordinator for an area festival promoter. It’s a good job because I can do it from anywhere, which means I can do it while on tour.”
Trawick has been on tour lately supporting his new five-song EP, Starting Over.
“[The title track] was written at 3 o’clock in the morning about three days after losing my job,” he recalls. “It was basically my realization that the past was the past and the future was now a blank slate type of thing.”
Prior to losing his job at SoundExchange, Trawick had tracked four tunes for the EP at ISI Recording in South Carolina. Once he finished writing “Starting Over,” he knew it had to be part of the collection.
“I convinced one of my friends to drive down with me to South Carolina three days later,” he says. “I recorded the song live, sitting on the floor of the studio, with just one microphone placed in between my vocals and the guitar.”
Trawick says he has songs written for his next full-length album, which he expects to release in late 2009 or early 2010. Meanwhile, he plans to continue promoting Starting Over, as well as build his following and find an agent and a manager.
“I actually feel pretty lucky to be doing this right now during this economic time,” he says. “When other friends of mine are stressed out about their jobs, I’m happy with what I’m doing. I work during the day booking and publicizing shows and at night tour and play gigs. The more I work during the day, the more I get paid at night. This is definitely the type of job where you get what you put in, and I put in a lot.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Justin Trawick on tour (schedule subject to change):
* Aug. 14: Frank & Nic’s West End Grille – Baltimore
* Aug. 15: Tin Angel – Philadelphia
* Aug. 18: The Saint – Asbury Park, N.J.
* Aug. 20: The Blinkin Lincoln – Philadelphia
* Aug. 23: Banjo Jim’s – New York
* Aug. 27: Evening Star Café – Alexandria, Va.
* Aug. 28 and 29: Iota Club & Café – Arlington, Va.
* Aug. 30: DC9 – Washington, D.C.
* Sept. 2: Café Diem – Richmond, Va.
* Sept. 5: Old Ebbit Grill – Washington, D.C.
* Sept. 8: Iota Club & Café – Arlington, Va.