“It can’t be all music/all the time”: The L.A.-based singer/songwriter—and, it turns out, certified EMT—weighs in on the importance of hobbies, spare time, and personal goals. (First in a new series at BLURT in which we talk to artists about everything BUT music.)
BY G. KAYA
Balance is arguably the most important ingredient to a fulfilling life. Some consider straying from their career to pursue other hobbies and interests (success-suicide), while others consider it an integral part of their creative process. The practice of walking away and letting go to give your brain time to form healthy strategies to accomplish goals is paramount. For instance, many great thinkers, artists, and business gurus have shared how important their morning rituals are; journaling, meditating, soaking in freezing cold water for ten seconds before starting the day, and even playing video games have been said to improve mental capacity.
This art of not obsessing… or rather, the art of taking yourself out of your obsessiveness when it arises, is as important as what you’re obsessing about. A common correlation amongst the greats seem to be the way they spend their spare time. I invited Eva Misle to share some of her thoughts on the subject. (Below, listen to Misle’s hit “Over U.”)
BLURT: How important are your ‘other interests’ and hobbies, outside of your music career?
EVA MISLE: If you’re like me and you have many different interests, you have to do your best to keep up and satiate those other interests so that you feel like you’re getting the most out of life. My favorite things outside of music are hiking, going to the movies, happy hour with friends… I have done some acting and improv—I love comedy, also love martial arts. I’ve done kickboxing, boxing, Muay Thai, Krav Maga, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I like painting pottery, crocheting blankets, and I’ve been known to make some awesomely unique bedazzled shoes. I’m an artsy person, I think it’s a lifestyle. Any art form requires constant practice and learning. Whether I’m doing martial arts, creating things with my hands, or practicing piano or vocals, I think it all exercises the “artsy” part of the brain. It helps keep you sharp and motivated.
Is that where you draw inspiration? How important are your hobbies to the musical process?
I draw inspiration from everywhere. Every person needs some positive outlets outside of their career. It can’t be all music/all the time for me. You need breaks to recharge and explore other interests. Other unrelated forms of art can actually be indirectly helpful to the music. You need a healthy balance between career and personal life, especially in this business, which can be more emotional—with those big highs and lows and constantly feeling on the edge, it can be quickly draining. You need to have that healthy balance.
Can you give an example of an extreme high? An extreme low?
When my song Not My Daddy feat. Gucci Mane reached #8 on the Billboard dance charts and I received a plaque that’s still hanging in my kitchen. And a big low would be expecting to go on a huge tour opening for a big name but didn’t happen. But it helps to grow thicker skin. I’ve learned not to get too excited until you know it’s 100% happening.
Are there any spiritual exercises you do when you’re feeling down or overexcited to come back to earth and keep a steady stride?
I have to stay busy and attempt to keep some balance of other things to keep me distracted from my own obsessive thoughts. I need to get inspired to get out of the circus in my head. I enjoy volunteering, I like feeding the homeless, I love working as an EMT and helping others in a fast-paced emergency situation. It definitely helps give me more purpose in life when I put my energy toward greater causes. It’s inspiring and motivating when you can get out there, do something different, make a change, and see the world from other perspectives. Finding a higher cause that is greater than yourself can be life-changing if you put your energy toward the right opportunities.
Can you offer any tips for how to deal with the extreme highs? Extreme lows?
Everyone needs to have some positive coping mechanisms in their lives. Even if just some temporary distraction from whatever is going on, you need to keep a balance. For me, I like to have other stuff going on besides just music, big or small; it’s helpful, because that way I’m not fully sucked in at all times. Like my craftiness, I like to make things with my hands. Or set a fitness goal to work toward like a triathlon, hike challenge, or engaging in other part-time interests, like working as an EMT or volunteering with the fire department. For the extreme highs, I’ve learned that you have to really soak in and live in those moments. Appreciating those high times are important because they come and go, but holding onto them will help keep you motivated.
If you had to pick one other career path other than music, what would it be?
It’s completely different from music, but I really enjoy being a first responder in emergency situations. I am currently a certified EMT, and if I weren’t doing music I’d probably continue on to become a paramedic in the fire department.
Any personal goals you’ve set for yourself recently?
I’ve been dying to go to the taping of an Ellen DeGeneres show!