The Quinn’s Daily Spinn: The Most Important Song of My Decade
I’m a reflective person this time of year. And, because we’re at the end of not just a year, but a decade, that notion becomes tenfold.
When looking back on the past ten years, it’s fair to say that the journey has turned out beyond any reasonable prediction.
For me, I never would have predicted that one of its defining moments would have come from listening to my old college radio show, in my bedroom at my parents’ house.
The date was Saturday, August 17, 2013. I was working in New York City in corporate America, burnt out and feeling insignificant. I had a rare weekend to myself, and I had been kicking around the idea of creating a podcast as a creative outlet. So, I decided to start by firing up my old laptop and studying my old work.
When I listened back to those old shows — as, um… rough around the edges as they were — I kept remembering the small, but rabidly loyal following who would tune in, week in and week out. I remembered what felt like to create something that mattered to somebody. I felt a fire kick up, and I became driven to do it again.
I didn’t expect fame and fortune. In fact, I didn’t care if the fan base ever grew beyond the same, steady 10 people from the college days. I just wanted to do something to reach people again, and this had become the way.
The rest, as they say, is history. But, what the carefully-branded biography at that link doesn’t tell you is about the struggle. Professionally, I had never done anything like this before. To be frank, I didn’t know the first thing about running a business, building a brand, or the music industry itself in 2013. So, there were naturally plenty of roadblocks, setbacks, and lessons learned the hard way, from that beautiful August night until now.
Beyond that, there have been — and continue to be — countless late nights followed by early mornings. There have been lost jobs, broken relationships, and overwhelming financial struggles. There has been criticism from time to time, both from within my circle and outside. Most significant of all, I lost my mother unexpectedly, smack in the middle of this decade. She was — is — my best friend in the world. We literally survived cancer together; me in 2003, and her in 2004. So, as you can imagine, that was an enormous blow.
Certainly, all of that fun behind the scenes has made it tough to not only keep this all together, but to make it grow and evolve into the platform you know today. At times — and, as we all do, in the creative space — I’ve wondered if eschewing the “normal” route and building this life is worth the turmoil that has dominated much of the decade. There were even, I dare say, a couple of points that could have served as obvious times to pack it in and fall in line.
I’m glad I didn’t. Through it all, this has been beyond worthwhile. And, aside from losing Mom, I would do every last bit of it again.
Why? Because creating Underground Music Collective from those early days — and the very real, extremely human process of it all — has given me more than better business sense and improved professional skills. This platform has provided me with some of the most beautiful experiences and greatest opportunities of my life. I’ve learned the amazing stories of more creative people than I can count, and some of my best friends on the planet have come into my life by way of this experience. I’ve found access to a much larger, more vibrant world, rooted in a thriving city that presents boundless possibilities. And — although I prefer to let other people do the talking on this point — I dare have the audacity to proclaim, just this once, that this platform has reached and inspired more people, through all of its phases, than I could have thought possible in August 2013.
With that, the last Daily Spinn of the decade is the song that has helped me keep it all in mind, more than any other from the past ten years.
Seattle rapper Grieves released his album, Running Wild, back in 2017. Throughout that year, a lot of those struggles I described above would reach their apex. This song, “Night Shift,” helped me find whatever power I could in that time. It helped me decide that I had worked too hard, sacrificed too much, and endured too much criticism to do anything other than push this platform as far as it could go. Life had cleared the decks and, through the struggle, I saw an opportunity to create the life I wanted to create. It still wouldn’t be easy, and I would still face resistance from different corners, but I knew that there was no other way to go.
Now, when I come back to this song, I think of those different points along the road, and how they were absolutely instrumental in leading me to Nashville and transforming my world. In fact, after every single late night at H.O.M.E., this is the first song on in the car. It reminds me of where I’ve come from, the work it took to get here, and the work that still lies ahead. I know that creating the future I want, for UMC and myself, depends on staying humble — OK, with maybe just a liiiiittle chip on my shoulder — and doing it all again the next day.
“If you were pushing through that night shift,
Running all day,
Working all night,
Not a dollar to spend,
Would you do it again?”
I would do it again, and I intend to 366 times in 2020.
Have a safe and happy New Year. See you then!
The Quinn Spinn is a monthly podcast which features conversations with musicians, producers, content creators, and industry professionals, providing insight into what it takes to succeed as a creative entrepreneur in today’s industry. Follow the show and listen to the latest on Spotify, Anchor, Apple Podcasts, and more!