No one ever coasted into a powerful vision. These words are from Roddy Chong, who gave up trying to be a professional musician because “it wasn’t very practical to be a violinist” and “there were people better at it than I was in high school.” How many of us can actually make a living pursuing this kind of art? Although he had his doubts, Roddy didn’t stray too far—he became involved in theater and dancing in college. And someone said to him one day, “Roddy, didn’t you say you play the violin?” So he dusted off his instrument, and that was the beginning. He tells colorful stories of the ups and downs he has experienced pursuing his passion. When he was a young and starving artist, he once heard Celine Dion on the radio singing “To Love You More” and the beauty of the song and the violin made him cry. But he heard a voice in his head that said, “I want to play that song with Celine Dion!” So he went home and learned how play the song by ear, and through a circuitous path that involved hundreds of other gigs and touring with Shania Twain, he kept hearing that voice. One day, before he knew it, his path intersected with Celine’s and as she came offstage, he blurted out to René Angélil “I can play that song for you anytime you want!” He didn’t audition for them that day, or even that year, but check out this video. How cool is that? Roddy now performs with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. His advice? Get uncomfortable. Go for extreme followthrough. And most of all, go for that thing’s that’s been beating in your heart for a long while.
Photo courtesy of Bill Longshaw.