For about a year, I attended a monthly Songwriter Night at Wholehearted Productions in Orlando, FL that allowed local songwriters to share their original music, receive feedback to workshop it, and learn about the industry and innovative upcomings in the field. One of the members I continue to follow is Theo Moon. He went to school for Aeronautical Engineering and realized music had a stronger calling. Now he is a full-time musician gigging around Central Florida.
Recently he traveled to Europe and the United Kingdom for three months with goals of performing across these countries and meeting like-minded musicians. Envious and super intrigued, I knew I had to interview him once he returned!
What steps led you to this trip abroad?
First I asked him about what he did prior to being a musician and what inspired his hopes to travel. After he stopped studying Engineering, he spent a few years dabbling in music and traveling with his sister. After deciding to devote his efforts to being a musician, he chose to take a long trip and have a big adventure before hunkering down to the full-time music hustle.
Theo was quite passionate about his preference over creativity than the predictable engineer life. “Robots are going to eventually take over jobs. The one thing that will be safe is the arts. They can’t teach a computer to be creative. In the long run this is a safe bet.”
Theo’s favorite city (and food city) was London. Cheers! Enamored by the melting pot or cultures, he went on about how the music in other countries is heavily influenced by - wait for it - America. Even if people hardly could communicate in English, they could sing American songs perfectly. When asked about how he booked shows in these various countries, he described their websites and SoFar Sounds (a couple guys that started a cool network of house concerts in Europe that has made its way across the pond to Florida).
Was the music different across countries?
I was particularly curious about the differences in music and vocal style. Based on his observations, Northern Europe and the UK seemed to have a pleasant tenor sound, much like Ed Sheeran, while the romantic-language-speaking countries were deeper and more sultry. Italian singing was particularly more expressive and emotional. I think it’s so intriguing how different styles of music lay the foundation for the vocal qualities in which people sing. Every country’s “normal” is totally different - and that’s cool!
As a fellow songwriter, naturally I was curious if he picked up any song inspirations from his travels. While is focus is more on performing than writing, he did bring home some ideas for future originals. “One of the song inspirations I had was along the Northern coast of Italy. There were five tiny villages that were absolutely beautiful that you can hike along. You can see the formation of land - lava layers - really cool. You get sense of the age. “Carved in Stone” [is my idea of] looking at the duality of things that don’t change. Being comforted that something will always be there. Then the other side of change being good.”
Did you learn anything from this experience?
“A lot of people get stuck in the reactionary motive life, reacting to circumstances or what’s happening in global economy and politics. My life was based on people outside of myself and if I get a promotion or not. Going on the trip, you can wake up every day and have complete control of what your day is going to look like. You can stay in bed all day or go out and explore. I felt that would be good going to [transition into being] a self-employed person. It’s all on me to motivate myself. I don’t want to go to this country, let’s go here. It’s freeing have that amount of autonomy. It’s intoxicating! You don’t want to go back to a bunch of constraints. When your eyes are open you can’t go back to that blissful ignorance. I want a life that’s more intentional. I’m deciding what direction I want my life to go into.”
Traveling with guitar case in hand, he would be asked to play and find himself bonding with a train car or station full of strangers regardless the country or language. Being an introvert, he never really brought out the guitar unless somebody requested, which still happened constantly. He smiled as he talked about people ranging from beginning to advanced musicians and all of them jamming together and sharing an experience. “Anyone from anywhere can relate. It brings people together in a way very few things can.” Here’s him playing on a train in Italy:
He spoke fondly of a particular night in Rome. Nobody really sang in English that night and without understanding their language, he felt they all could understand their emotions. Here’s a video he posted about that “universal language.”
“That was so awesome to me to be moved even when you don’t know what they’re saying. That was a cool night.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
(I was surprised where this question led. This was probably what we spent the most amount of time talking about. I was so touched by his discovery.)
“This is a little stoic but I feel like we don’t appreciate how small we are in the grand scheme of things. I have a lot of friends and family. I went to Europe for three months and their world continued. When you get removed from everything you realize the world was here before and will be after. It could be depressing but to me it’s freeing. It’s not the pressure to be this great amazing person. It frees you just to live life. Life is going to go on whether you live your best life or not. That’s so ‘2018’ but it’s true, the world is going to keep spinning regardless whether you’re in your room or on top of the Eiffel Tower. Overall I think it’s a good things when you realize the whole world doesn’t revolve around you.”
I hope you enjoyed reading what Theo had to say. I know I enjoyed speaking with him! Follow @TheoMoonMusic to stay tuned with Theo’s musical endeavors and/or @TheoMoonVS for blog entries about his introversion and personal thoughts about life and travel.
Interested in hearing him play some originals soon? He’ll be performing with a full band at The Imperial at 1800 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801 on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018. Check it out!
Have you ever had a powerful experience from traveling? Tell me all about it in the comments!
Until next week!
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Cover Photo by Abigail