At My Worst: Yakyn

4 years ago I was working in a warehouse writing song lyrics on the back of invoices. Most of the storage space on my iPhone was taken up by 30 second voice memo clips with melody ideas for songs. My heart and my head were in two very different places and I wasn’t particularly happy with my life. I was 24 years old at the time with a distant dream of becoming a successful artist and the ever pressing reality of how unrealistic that dream was. The distribution company I was working for had just given me a promotion to warehouse manager and the owner of the company had told me he wanted me to eventually become the GM. He actually wrote a note on the back of one of my checks that said: “Please don’t ever leave this company and let me know what I can do to keep you here.” My mind was beginning to think with more logic and less magic. I could actually see myself settling down in the small town I grew up in, working for the same company, getting married, having kids, and getting old. All good things, but I knew something was missing. The idea of becoming a performing artist had pretty much become shelved somewhere cold and dark in the back of my brain. But that all changed pretty quickly and it started with a prayer one Friday night. I had just arrived home from a typical boring day at work. I parked my car and just sat there in the drive way for a couple minutes thinking. I was reflecting on the last several years of my life and trying to imagine where I would be in the next 10 years. I saw myself at a crossroads between pursuing music and continuing down the road I was currently on—working for the distribution company. I prayed a lot back then, so that’s what I did. I asked God to give me a sign on what to do with the next chapter of my life. It was one of those prayers that’s more conversational then traditional, not just a bless the food kind of monologue. I asked a real question and I expected an answer. And believe it or not I received one. The following Monday I was back at my job making my usual rounds through the warehouse checking up on my coworkers. A trucker had just arrived to pick up a pallet shipment. The order wasn’t finished so I struck up a conversation with him to kill time. He was unusually happy for a trucker, probably the happiest trucker I’ve met. He started asking me questions about the business and how it had started. I told him that the owner had taken a risk on a product several years earlier and it had turned out to be a great success. He smiled and said that he loved those kinds of stories. He told me there were so many people in this world today with dreams who never took chances on them. "It's a fear of the unknown”, he said. He added that he was one of those people and said that he had a dream as a young man he had never taken a chance on and now he was just a truck driver. I asked him what his dream had been. His response was an answer to my prayer. "I always wanted to be a singer songwriter.” I knew at that moment I would be leaving the company I was working for to pursue music. I knew if I didn’t, I would be telling that same story to some kid just like me somewhere down the road. Thank you God for answering my question.

A couple months later I was hit with some of the hardest news of my life—my best friend and fellow band member, Ezra Briggs, had died in a car accident. He was my age, only 24 years old. The harsh reality of his passing woke me up in a real way. I decided to stop being so afraid of all the “what if’s” in life and just start living. The combination of his passing and the words of the mysterious trucker gave me the courage and vision to take a chance on something I had only dreamed of.

Roughly 6 months later I moved to Nashville with not much of plan, but a firm belief that I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing something I loved whether or not it made logical sense. It’s been a ride to say the least and I’m glad I chose to take it. 4 years later I’m sitting at a TGIF at the airport in Dallas writing this. Life is too short and too unpredictable to live safely. I’m happy I made the choice to pursue music, it definitely hasn’t panned out like I thought it would, but it’s been an incredible adventure, and it’s still not over. I had a theme in my mind when I left my tiny hometown and moved to Nashville. It was inspired by the car accident that took my best friend Ezra’s life. I saw my journey into music as a drive that could very well end in a crash. I wrote a song about it called “The Drive Was Worth The Crash” We’re all driving down a highway through life and eventually that highway’s gonna reach a dead end. Let’s pick our roads carefully and when we find one that makes our heart race let’s floor the gas and see where it takes us. Let’s live so passionately that whatever happens we’ll be able to look back at our lives knowing with confidence that the drive was worth the crash.