Zac Brown Band influenced my music career before the idea of having a music career was even born.
The song “Free”, off of his very first album, solidified in my mind that traveling was going to be the only way I’d ever really begin to understand myself and the world around me. It was the influence of his music that nudged me to quit that corporate job, buy that one way ticket, and later, make my way to the islands, where it all really began for me. Once I’d taken the leap, it was his music that comforted me in the middle of the night when I was freezing in a tent high up in the Andes mountains. His music that kept me company on every bus, plane and taxi ride throughout South America. And it was his songs I shared with a diverse range of travelers on stages around Peru and Colombia that made me proud to call this country my home. Zac Brown has felt like a best friend to me for a long time, and I’d never even met him.
That changed this week.
By a stroke a fate from the heavens, I won an Eat and Greet ticket, which is the opportunity to meet ZBB over a gourmet dinner served by his personal chef. Sure, I’d have to fly to New Mexico to do it, but there was never a question I wouldn’t spend every last penny I had to meet the man who’s inspired so much of my life.
And so, on October 6th, 2015, I set out for Albuquerque, New Mexico, unsure of what exactly lay ahead, and excited as FUCK.
When I arrived at the Isleta Amphitheater in my bright orange tiger onesie, the anticipation increased 100-fold. I was lucky enough to meet a couple super fans, who gave me the inside scoop on the event and acted as my guides throughout the evening. They had been to 38 ZBB concerts. I was jealous AF.
We were led to a tent with long tables, all facing a buffet line with 8-9 different pans of food. Moments later, the band emerged, and Zac introduced us to his chef, Rusty, who’d prepared the meal. We’d get the chance to talk to each band member as we passed through the buffet line.
When I got to Zac, who had acknowledged me earlier because of my crazy outfit, I thanked him for his musical influence, and handed him my cd and and personalized thank you note as a token of my gratitude for everything he’d unknowingly done for me. He was so gracious and real, as were the rest of his band mates, and I was thoroughly impressed with their attitudes and demeanors. They were all so down to earth, welcoming and friendly, qualities that many stars lose. It was a true inspiration, and reminded me of the importance of humility in this industry.
After the Eat and Greet, I took my seat in the 5th row back from the pit (thanks to the fan club director, the amazingly lovely unicorn TBird), and enjoyed ZBB for the second time this summer. Once again, I was hit with a mixture tears and awe for the majority of the show, I was in a completely different plane of existence in that moment. One where the beauty, passion and healing of music envelops your soul and reminds you that love is all there is.
After the concert, I waited around till everyone had left to get a final photo with a few of the band members (and hand out download cards of course!), then headed home to contemplate the monumental event that had just occurred. Sharing space with Zac Brown Band is one of the most inspirational and motivational things that has happened to me this year, and I know that one day I WILL be sharing his stage!