Sam Newsome

Sam Newsome
"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy

Now available of Bandcamp!

Now available on Bandcamp!

Now available on Bandcamp!

Monday, August 14, 2023

Embracing the Second Life: A Musical Journey of Transformation

 "We have two lives. The second starts when you realize you only have one." This timeless saying by Confucius has been the backdrop to the most transformative journey of my life, a journey that began with a seemingly simple, yet very difficult decision—to give up the tenor sax and embrace the soprano saxophone as my new musical voice.


Before my rebirth musically, if you will, I was a tenor saxophonist cruising along a path that, though had its share of frustration, felt familiar. My career was steady, my skills were honed, and yet, there was a lingering sense of unexplored territory. It was as if I was navigating a comfortable musical stream, but beyond the horizon, an ocean of undiscovered music and creativity beckoned me.


And then, it happened—I had music epiphany that sent ripples through my artistic soul. I decided to pick up the soprano sax, a decision that marked the beginning of my second life—a life where I would approach music with fresh eyes and an open heart.


Transitioning to the soprano sax was not just a change of instrument; it was a plunge into uncharted waters. And I'll be the first to admit that at times, I felt as though I was going to drown. The soprano saxophone's voice was higher, its nuances demanded a new understanding, and its tonal palette expanded my sonic vocabulary. As I navigated this new terrain, I discovered new types of music and improvisation that were previously beyond my understanding and general interests. I discovered different kinds of melodies, new tonal systems and a way of improvising that was less centered around theory and standard jazz vocabulary, and more about human emotion.


The journey of my second life led me to cross paths with a diverse group of artists and musicians. Collaborations that would have remained elusive if I hadn't embraced this new path.  I found myself collaborating with individuals from non-jazz genres, each bringing a unique perspective that enriched my musicality. Through our collaborations, I was able to tap into unexplored facets of my own artistry, a testament to the profound wisdom encapsulated in Confucius' saying. 


Looking back at my journey, I am reminded that we have the power to shape our lives, to birth a second life that is driven by our passions and guided by the wisdom that time is restless and waits for no one. Embracing the soprano sax was merely the catalyst for an new world that touched every facet of my existence, from becoming a family person, having a full-time teaching position, writing books, becoming a home owner, and just enjoying life in general. It was the embodiment of Confucius' saying—a reminder that the second life starts when we grasp the fleeting nature of existence and dive headfirst into the vast ocean of possibility.


When things are not going well, we often feel that the answer lies in tying to perfect our birth life. Maybe what we need is to be reborn.

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