The Value of Gumption

Hey all! A good friend of mine encouraged me to document my experiences as a musician, so I’m doing it. (Thank you, Anthony.)

I’ve been a solo artist for many years until recently. I formed a super solid band with three other musicians in 2015. Today, we call ourselves IS Evolution. We used my back catalog as a launch pad – establishing a sound and a platform. Now we are writing new music together and it’s been a huge effort to get to this point. There’s more to our story — our harmony, our growth, our struggles, the nerve to genre blend as we do— and I’ll share those things with you, ongoing.

But let me backtrack a bit. Share a little about myself, just in case you haven’t combed through the website or read my outdated bio and such.

I’ve done things. I’ve accomplished stuff just for having the gumption to try something new. When I began making music, I started as a singer/songwriter with a $50 acoustic guitar purchased from a pawn shop. I had little to no experience as a singer—no vocal training and no desire to be an entertainer AND I absolutely had no experience with the guitar. At the time, I was in my late 20s with college debt, no job, homeless, lost and depressed. On my grandmother’s couch, I taught myself to play, working out my emotions one note at a time. Notes became chords, chords became melodies and then flowed the words.

Within five years, I wrote two albums worth of material, sang my way around open mic nights in Detroit, formed my first band, performed on local TV, wrote a commissioned song for an organization, began singing on festivals, got a job, got married, lost that first band, hired another, lost that one then finally, lost my job.

Then, I quit the guitar. Honestly, because I allowed a moment of insecurity and someone’s callused words to discourage me. I would not pick it up again for 10 years.

Fast forward to today. I’m still married. Happily married. I’ve written two more albums worth of material. Done some other things that was inspired by gumption, that I’ll cover later. But most importantly, I’m playing guitar again. This time on an electric. I’ve owned it for four years and have only begun playing it at the beginning of this year.

Today, I picked up said guitar from my new guitar tech, Greg Gdaniec, who modified the bridge and changed the pick guard. The work is an improvement of it’s overall tone and I’m very excited to play it. I’ll share my struggles of getting my guitar groove on with you down the road.

But let me share this, then I’ll let you go. I just recently became enamored with the idea of naming my instruments. I hadn’t named this one until today. When I engaged Greg to modify her, he suggested that because she is my first electric guitar and I’ve modified her so extensively, that I’d never get rid of her. In my heart, I believe he is correct. You see, through this guitar, I’ve learned a few more important lessons about gumption— dare to define yourself, be relentless and unapologetic, but mostly, know that how you begin will not be who you become—so be nervy about it. These are lessons my mother exemplified—so I’ve named her “Debbie,” after my mom—a woman who had the heart to make shit happen when the odds were stacked against her.

Meanwhile, check Debbie out in the vid below and swoon over her tone. Say, would you also add yourself to my newsletter?  Soul.

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  1. Congratulations on your first post. It was a good read. I had watched your progression and the growth of your confidence in expecting the attaining success. Having a guitar tech sounds really rocker chick, I love that.

  2. Gumption equals risk equals change. Kudos.

  3. I’ll taking acoustic guitar lessons from the best guitar player in Houston. I’m learning chords!

  4. I LOVE THIS! Gumption!! What a great story. Looking forward to more. Thanks for sharing.

    Gal Daniel

Singer. Songwriter.

Inohs Sivad (pronounced ē-nōs sĭvăd) writes songs of everyday living — love, loss, joy and heartache — each resting on a genre-blending bed of rock, soul and funk.

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