TEDxOmaha: Interview with Rebecca Lowry
This is the third in our series of interviews with 2010 TEDxOmaha speakers, following Nancy Kirk of the Tri-Faith Initiative and Lamarr Womble of Passion for Leadership. Rebecca Lowry is a musician who performs under the name All Young Girl Are Machine Guns.
What do you do? How likely is it for someone to turn their passion into a profession? How necessary?
I am a nerd, I play the ukulele, I write songs, and I read a lot which all add up to writing nerdy songs about books on my ukulele and playing them wherever I can. I don’t know that having a profession without passion is possible. I mean, I realize it is possible to work at a place you could care less about, but I don’t think you can call what you do there your profession. I think then it becomes your occupation, what occupies your time versus the thing you do that you are willing to profess you are passionate about.
What’s your familiarity with TED or with other similar conferences? Do you have a favorite TED talk? Favorite conference experience?
I was following Hosea Frank’s website in 2004 when he went on to speak at the TED conference. Watching the video of his talk and learning there were others, I began to watch them and found myself hooked. I’ve been dreaming of speaking at TED since, albeit never in the capacity that I will be. Life for me has changed a lot since and the fact that I have this opportunity to participate, even at our local level, just astounds me. And if I had to pick a favorite TED Talk, I’d go with Elizabeth Gilbert’s "A New Way To Think About Creativity." I think I’ve watched the video every time I’ve felt like my creativity has been down in the dumps and it’s always been the one thing that relaxes me enough to let the process of songwriting just happen.
Video has always been a big component of the TED experience. How is proliferation of online video changing our world?
Online video is kinda like trying traditionally savory foods with sugary fruit in them. While I love me some chicken salad, the addition of grapes is not something I like, but the addition of apples brought me to trying it at home. In online video, you have the chance that the content is going to be unknowingly necessary to your person (who you are, how you live, what shapes you, builds you) or that the content will possibly rob you of the desire to live. Of course I mean that as hyperbole, but it stands to reason that it is actually possible.
The thing of it is, now everyone that has something to say has access in one way or another to present their point to the world. The part that might backfire is the fact that now everyone that has something to say has access in one way or another to present their point to the world. Also, people with nothing to say now have access in one way or another…
In my personal experience, while I started learning how to play the ukulele from videos and content I found on the internet, I also started showing my progress in video form on YouTube. So, while I am a much better performer and player, the videos that I made while plunking through songs are still available to everyone. I shake my head when I go back to some of them, but when I see where I am from where I was, I see what, in merely two years, has become of me. Anyone can take those videos and be inspired that it is possible to find something you love and do that, or if they already do what I do (because I know I’m not the only one), they can be inspired to be better than I am at what I do.
Where do you see your business/hobby/passion going? How would you like it to grow? What are you adding to the world that no one else is?
I see my music crossing state lines, perhaps country borderlines, perhaps allowing me to live without a "day job." I mean, I am a musician, I want to tour, I want to record more with my band, I want to see my face on the cover of a Rolling Stone (and yes, I totally just sang that in my head). If none of that happens though, I want to keep reading. I want to keep loving writing songs and playing the ukulele. I want to do more than bide my time until I die. I want to live passionately and purposefully and if possible, live grounded while still following the things that inspire me.