1 am. The server at Amante Pizza clears our table. Across from me sit two old friends, veterans in the music scene, of their neighborhoods at least. “Remember that one hook I had… the one where I said….” Something about riding a bicycle through town. In my fixie, riding down Broadway damn near sixty. Owuor laughs, his lips still raw from his show earlier that night. His sips are long. Recovery.
An over-dressed salad and 1.5 slices of cheese pizza remain on the table. Anna to my right, and Anyango asleep on the bench next to her. Both performers in the show that night. I remember sitting next to Anna at Starbucks 2 years ago and about a conversation we had. About our goals as we often did. She wanted to dance. To travel. And to do all of this with her family on stage with her. And now, in the corner booth on Capitol Hill, streetlight flickering with every pedestrian between the street and our window in perfect unison with our lagging blinks, this lifestyle was her new normal. Her success.
Enough time for a bite. Enough time to run into an old friend and relive the past. Not quite enough time to convince someone that you are still the same old dude from the neighborhood but just enough time to fall asleep. To recall how far you’ve come, and how far you still have to go.
Someone once asked me what I thought about “success” and how to deal with not ever feeling like we are making any ground. My secret is that I don’t define success with my art. My art is just my tool. It’s the experiences and the people that I have met through what I do where I get the most fulfillment in life. I’m lucky. I get to pick the brains and learn from people who have “made it.” They are the cool ones. I just push buttons. I’ve never linked the two.
The most valuable thing I have learned is that success is real. It really exists if you choose to play the part and make the moves. It’s not just something we see on Tumblr. That, and the fact that you cannot do it alone. Trying to do it by yourself will only take you so far. Do it for the sake of something bigger than yourself and to be happy for others along the way. Give. That’s when you will begin to see success.
3 minutes. My Conversation with Owuor Arunga on success, fame, and his creative mindset.
Remember, there is no timeline.