This interview is part of the Chasing Dreams interview series. I’ve interviewed a variety of entrepreneurs and small business owners who have chosen a different path in life in order to go after his or her dream career. Have an entrepreneur in mind you’d like to learn more about? Let me know!
Today’s interview is with Cobi, a talented musician who has played with some big names in the industry. I came across Cobi when he was performing with Gentleman Hall, who opened for Third Eye Blind during their 20 year anniversary tour in 2013.
Last week we heard from his wife, Crystal Chin. They both understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle in order to do their best work.
Updated on 1/25/17 to add the above killer performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon!
Read on to learn about his journey, how he stays healthy while on the road and get great advice for anyone following a creative or alternative career path. This interview is a great example of the common struggles people face when chasing their dreams, whether it’s starting their own business or becoming a full-time musician.
At what point did you know you wanted to follow this career path? How did you know this was the right direction?
When I was about 8 years old, a friend of my moms stopped by our house with an electric guitar. At that point, I had always fantasized about being able to play guitar, but I never had the opportunity to actually pick one up. I was so excited when he brought his beautiful sparkly blue electric guitar into the house with a tiny amplifier and started teaching my brother and I a couple chords. He really encouraged us to start jamming right there on the spot as if we knew what we were doing. I remember thinking, “I can actually play guitar!” something I had always dreamed about. Once I was able to play a couple chords I was totally hooked. That summer I started working for $3 an hour mowing lawns around my community so I could start saving money to buy my own electric guitar. About 3 months and many lawns later I bought my first electric Stratocaster and I never looked back.
What are the biggest struggles you’ve faced while trying to achieve your dreams?
When you’ve worked at something as long as I’ve worked at music, there are times when you doubt yourself or question if you really have the talent to make your dreams happen. Those moments of self doubt are the biggest challenge to overcome. I feel that when you have all the confidence in the world, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals. But when you’re feeling doubtful, the smallest thing can impact you and set you back. The struggle is working through the self doubt and putting yourself out there for the world to see and hear.
Following your own path can be tough on the body and mind, between long days, instability and really putting yourself out there to reach your goals. How do you stay healthy? Do you have any rituals that help you stay centered?
Its always a challenge to eat the way I want while I’m traveling. If I’m on the road I usually bring a cooler stocked with healthy snacks like fruit, salads, sandwiches, nuts, hummus, yogurt, etc. so I can avoid eating at truck stops or convenient stores. If I have a day off in a city, I usually go to a grocery store and stock up organic foods or try to find healthy restaurants. Besides eating right I find it very important to get exercise 4 to 5 days a week. I like working out in the mornings so that usually means getting up early to use the hotel gym before I have to hit the road again. Getting oxygen to my brain really helps me stay focused and gets me ready for a day of challenges.
Speaking of putting yourself out there, overcoming rejection is a big part of chasing dreams. How do you bounce back?
Let it be motivation to work harder and get better at your craft. Every great artist or athlete has had to overcome rejection and the only remedy as far as I know is hard work. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t follow your dreams or become the person you want to be.
What do you do when you’re having an off day- maybe feeling down, struggling with self-doubt, or just unmotivated?
Sometimes I get stuck when I’m writing music or maybe I feel uninspired. When that happens I usually take a break and go do something else. Could be anything from walking the dog, taking a hike, reading a book, going to see a show. Something about getting away from your work for awhile makes it more fresh when you come back and the ideas flow more naturally.
What is one misconception people have about you and/or your profession?
I think the biggest misconception about being a musician is that its all fun and games. Most people don’t have any clue to what goes on behind the scenes. 8 to 15 hours of traveling a day for weeks on end, thousands of hours of rehearsals, sound checks, carrying loads of heavy equipment, all to play a 45 minute show.
What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way?
The only difference between success and failure is giving up.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a professional dancer?
Do it because it feeds your soul. If you’re doing it for any other reason I’m not sure how long you will last.
When do you feel the most inspired, alive and the most like YOU?
Either when I’m writing/recording a song and I really feel like its something special, or when I’m on stage and have a captive audience to perform for. Those two things make me feel more alive than anything else in the world.
What people, books, music, etc. inspire you?
Lately I’ve been listening to…. Little Dragon, SOHN, Young the giant, Chella, The War on Drugs, Neil Young, Step Rockets, Porter Robinson, among others.
Describe your favorite moment or accomplishment in your career so far.
Playing on the 2011 Billboard Music Awards with Gentlemen Hall was definitely a highlight. It was broadcasted live to millions of people, and many of my heroes were in the audience at the MGM Grand Arena including U2, Beyonce, Jay Z, CeeLo Green to name a few. It was definitely one of the most memorable moments of my career so far.
What’s the most exciting thing going on in your life right now?
New music I’ve been working on all summer. I plan on releasing my first single as a solo artist this fall. For more info about shows, videos, photos, and upcoming music check out my Facebook page here….. https://www.
Cobi (formally known as Cobi Mike) is a multi-dimensional artist. A powerful singer, an intense songwriter, and a blistering guitarist, who lives out of his suitcase.
Have questions for Cobi about becoming a professional musician? Ask him in the comments!