On April 8th, 2019, I decided to up and leave my childhood home in Waltham, MA to pursue my career as a Drummer in Nashville, TN. I had very little clue what to expect, and very little confidence in myself: Not only as a musician, but as a person. I was moving to a brand new place, making myself a small fish in a VERY big pond. I knew very few people, and had very little money. BUT.. I was going to do it anyway.
Here I am, on June 30, 2019, almost 3 months in. I feel great. I’m confident. I’m happy. And I’m actually making pretty damn good progress, which is something I was not expecting. More on that to follow..
Let’s begin with a story about a performer, Carolyn Miller, whom I met at the Newport Country Fest. My band at the time, Houston Bernard Band, performed every year at this festival. I knew very little about Carolyn, but knew she was an amazing singer/songwriter that would travel back and forth from her home in NY to TN, where she was always performing and networking.
She began talking to me about my vibe onstage and my abilities, and how well I would fit in in Nashville. Having thought of making the move before, I had an idea that my playing and personality would fit there. I just was too damn scared to make the move. After a long conversation, she had convinced me that I needed to stop making excuses and just make the move. This struck me, and I had thought about it nonstop for the next few weeks, when I finally started making some calls. Mid-March, my move had been planned, and I was leaving April 8th to a brand new city where I knew very few people. Carolyn was a major reason why I’m here, and why I’m able to write this blog that you’re reading right now. Thanks, Carolyn!
April 8, 2019: I woke up with a sense of excitement, with an underlying tone of extreme anxiety. I was finally making the leap I’ve been wanting to make for years, but never actually mustered up the courage to do so. My clothes were set out for the 8 hour drive to Richmond, VA, where I had an Air BnB for the night. My Honda Pilot was packed to the brim with all of my stuff. I was ready to go! I was excited. I was nervous. I was not expecting leaving my family behind to be so difficult. I had left home twice before to play music on cruise ships, but I knew I’d be back in no time. This time, there was no timeframe. I was moving. Potentially for the rest of my life.. *Cue commitment issue anxieties*
ALL of the emotions came out in the first few hours of the drive. I would be really excited and happy, then I would see/hear something that reminded me of my family and start crying my eyes out. Yes, I was a mess.. Yes, other drivers were looking at me funny.. No, I did not care. It was an extremely emotional time in my life..
April 9, 2019: I woke up in my Air Bnb in Richmond, VA. It was a cute spot with chalk paint, and there were quotes and drawings all over the walls. It was a getaway spot for the owner, who was an artist.. I loved it.
I got out of there early, and started on my next big full day of driving 8 hours to my destination in Nashville, TN (But not before getting my much needed morning coffee).
I arrived at around 5:00pm. It was a long day of driving. I was super tired, but extremely excited to learn more about this new city (I had only been to Nashville once before on a weekend tour with Houston Bernard Band). I met my roommate, and started my journey off with the most important decision I had made to date: which Hattie B’s Chicken heat level should I choose?
Let’s fast forward to April 14th.
April 14, 2019: This day was a special one for me. It was the beginning of a series of hangs that got my name out as drummer in the local artist community in Nashville. I was invited by my good friend from Boston, Adam Sickler, to join him and many others to watch the premiere of Game of Thrones Season 8. Having only watched about 5 episodes of the first season, I felt more than caught up with everything I needed to know before diving into the 8th season (Hint: I had no idea what the hell was going on). I truly enjoyed my time with what would soon become a group of my closest friends.
Apparently before I had even gotten to Nashville, Adam had already been throwing my name out there as a new drummer in town, and I was lucky enough that people trusted his word and asked me to play for them. I immediately had the opportunity to play often around town, which led me to meet even more incredible people who also had similar goals to mine.
With the help of my outgoing, extroverted personality and my handy dandy business cards (“Matt Salvo @ MattSalvoDrums.com”), I was able to make connections with people quite quickly and easily. I was not sure what to expect moving down here, but I sure as hell didn’t expect people to be so open and willing to help out. It’s an amazing feeling knowing you can go out to a bar alone and return home having made a few new friends.
Let’s finish this up by fast forwarding to today.
June 30, 2019: I’m here in my cozy room, where I’ve settled in quite nicely. I have my candle lit (Rosemary Mint.. Mmmm. Thanks Earth Bound!), and I’m listening to my study music while I write this. I practiced for a few hours today, then I participated in a video shoot for a friend of mine. My practice today was going over music for a gig that I’m playing with The Band Steele, opening for Andy Grammer on July 4th in Austin, TX at the Fort Hood Stadium.. Uhhh yeah, you read that right.. I’m opening for Andy Grammer in a few days. Yes, I’m excited. Yes, I’m nervous. Yes, I might pee myself a little before going on. No shame.
All of this came from just a few things. I’m persistent. I’m confident in my abilities. I’m not an asshole (The most important part of the music industry). I genuinely want to make people happy, I genuinely want to play music, and I genuinely want to inspire and motivate people (#MattSalvoMotivates). I want to combine those two things in order to use my time on Earth to get people to take action and do exactly what they want to do in life.
The reason I’m writing all of this is to share my story in the hopes that it may inspire those around me to chase their dreams. I want to use my experiences to show you that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. A few months ago, I moved out of my parents’ house in Boston to move to Nashville with nothing but an overwhelming desire to chase my dreams. Here I am today. I’m doing what it is that I’ve wanted to do since day one of playing the drums. I encourage you to work on yourself. I encourage you to take risks. I encourage you to push past your limits and live your life with no regrets.
Stay grateful. Stay humble. Stay motivated.