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Day 11: Your Sound

(Originally posted on 2 September 2016)

Itero de la Vega/Carrión de los Condes

Marcus Miller, one of the most influential bass players in the modern music business, once said in an interview that not all musicians are artists, and what sets an artist apart from an ordinary musician is the sound, the identifiable sound.

“And once you find your own sound," he said, "you got to hold on to that, man.”

I have spent every day of my life trying to find my sound, whether it is my own way of writing, my speech, my energy or the way I play my guitar. Because I believe “the sound” is our DNA. Our footprint. Our trademark. It is the thing that no one else had, has or will ever have.

However, finding that “sound” unique to every one of us is harder than it appears. Whether it is art or attitude, it can initially be recognized by three notes, a couple of paragraphs, or a simple gesture. But perfecting the sound, refining those notes, that writing or that movement will take up the rest of your life. Building a life without finding that sound is like building a sand castle on the beach. Fragile, ready to collapse any time even with a slightest current of critique. With your own sound, you become impenetrable by criticisms or judgments because that is your style. You will have many critics, for sure. You will always find someone who simply does not like you, period. But for those who do, you will have something truly unique to offer, and therefore precious.

Just to clarify, I am not talking about building your sound, or making up a Pirandellian mask just for the sensationalism. I am talking about finding. I am talking about searching for the truth inside you. Because I believe that people have the same instict as stray dogs, and whether they admit to themselves or not, they are able to tell if someone is faking. Intuitively, they can tell apart fear, from real courage, strength, and your unique energy.

Today I finally found my sound on this Camino. In this context, the sound is a unique walking rhythm. It had taken me ten days. However, once I found it, everything is fine. I did not feel the screaming pain from the Achilles tendon of my left heel any more, or my calf burning from the heated dirt road under the Spanish sun at its peak. I have completely surrendered to that mixture of adrenaline and endorphins that pushes me to walk on and on and on. And I felt free. Before I realized it, I had already walked 25 miles almost non-stop.

Once you find your sound, the only fear you have is losing it soon. It is the main reason why I walked so much today, or every day. However, at least I know the steps to take in order to find it once again. For me, that’s enough..

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