terrible quality, but this is me busking on State St. in Santa Barbara last year.

terrible quality, but this is me busking on State St. in Santa Barbara last year.

Tonight, I’m attending an acoustic house show in Playa Del Ray. I found the event online, and I have no idea what to expect. Apparently, I’m set to perform the same event next month, so I thought I’d get a feel for the whole thing. They said to “BYOB”, so I bought Knob Creek because whiskey really helps me relax in social situations.

This morning, I woke up late and moseyed on down to the pier at Seal Beach to busk. I made an easy $50 bucks over the course of a couple hours. I haven’t street performed in a while, and it was nice to play my favorite covers and meet folks. One local named Ray remembered me from a few months back! He sat with me for a song or two, we chatted, and then he bought me a quesadilla and went on his way. Sweet man.

Busking has become a big part of my life as a musician. I can remember many late nights in Santa Barbara and hot afternoons in Long Beach in which I felt so stressed, frustrated or discouraged. One evening in October last year, I became so overwhelmed, that I shouted swear words and kicked my guitar case and threw my capo. Losing your shit in public is humiliating, and I felt so childish and stupid. At that time, I was a three hundred dollars short of rent and I thought I might be evicted. On the other hand, so much good has come from street performing. I’ve certainly grown as a performer and singer because of it. I’ve made friends and met other musicians, I’ve booked paying gigs, and I’ve even gone “viral” on Instagram for a few hours. At least, that’s how it felt to me… it was the most internet exposure I’ve ever had.

In some ways, I feel like I am on the other side of some very difficult years. Old things feel new because my approach, mindset, and circumstances have changed. Returning to the pier today was really nice. I had no expectations. There was no stress. Just good times playing music and being open. (And also a healthy reminder that I really need to learn some new songs and work on my voice more!).

Ashton York