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Shuffle: A New Full-Time Musician's Journey Begins With A Song A Day

Elijah Bisbee
This Lovely Light

Many people dream about a career as a musician. For Cleveland’s Elijah Bisbee, he’s decided to make it a reality. Bisbee recently quit his day job to pursue music full-time. For this week’s Shuffle, WKSU’s Amanda Rabinowitz talked to Bisbee about his journey. 

Quitting his day job
Until recently, 31-year-old Elijah Bisbee worked for a Cleveland software company and did music on the side. He was in a Cleveland band called NOMADS.

Now, he spends his days holed up in his home studio. To get his focus and discipline as a full-time musician, he came up with SongX Project. He created a song every day during October, and wrote a song every week during November. He says he wants to leave a legacy to his future children. 

"I wanted this proof to say, 'Yeah, it's hard. It sucks sometimes to be a musician and not making any money. But how cool is it that life is so much more fulfilling when you're following what you're passionate about?'"

SongX Project
Bisbee says he's fortunate that his wife is able to support them financially while he begins his journey. He  says his first priority was to make sure that he took this seriously. 

"Coming out of my job, I knew it was really imperative to build solid habits quickly. I wanted to find something that would create those habits and build accountability into it."

"I've just found that constant creation is so healthy"

The goal of SongX Day was to create a song a day, Monday through Friday, during the month of October. He asked for support for the project, and anyone who contributed would be emailed each song every day. He ended up with 55 supporters. 

"The amazing thing for me is that that created so much accountability. I can't let them down."

Elijah Bisbee
Credit Elijah Bisbee
Elijah Bisbee working in his home studio

SongX Week
At the end of October, Bisbee decided to continue the project into November. This time, he would create a song a week. 

"SongX Week seemed like a natural progression because during SongX Day, I kept thinking, 'Well these can't be that good because I have one day.' It's not going to be the best thing anyone's ever heard. To put the pressure on myself, I said, 'Do a song a week so then, theoretically, you have time to work on all the technical stuff."

Bisbee says having the extra time to work on the songs made SongX Week much more of a challenge. 

"The perfect example was the first week. I started it Monday, worked on it a little bit on Tuesday and then I said, 'I can't release this on Friday!' So on Wednesday I started all over again." 

The result
"The result of SongX Week is that I'm proud of what I've done. I've just found that constant creation is so healthy and I'm so happy to had the room and space in my life to explore that. It boils down to the SongX Projects creating a venue for me to share that with others too."

As for what's next for Bisbee, he says he's ready to make a record. "I'm ready to take the lessons I've learned from these past two months of projects and really put them into play and doing it the right away."

Still, Bisbee says he's not done with his Song X Project. He plans another variation of it next spring. 


Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.