Why We’re Thankful: Two Years of UMC in Nashville

Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully, you have a chance (wherever you are) to spend the day safely with the people important to you. I hope that everyone is healthy, and remains so as we begin to draw 2020 to a close.

Today is a special day here at UMC. Not only is there a feast about to go down this evening, but today (November 26) marks a significant anniversary — for us, and for me personally.

On November 26, 2018, I got into my car with less than $1,000 to my name and whatever I could fit in my small, four-door sedan. I left my sister’s house in New Jersey and drove 800-plus miles, all the way to Nashville. We were three weeks into our official re-brand, from our regional beginnings as Lehigh Valley Underground, to the Underground Music Collective you know and love today.

I didn’t know what would lie ahead — and the only leeway (i.e.; income) I had to start was a security job at the Grand Ole Opry and a Lyft sticker on my car. All I knew is that, if this platform would ever grow into what I envisioned, this leap of faith was the undeniable first step. Because of this, and despite the unknowns, taking the biggest risk of my life didn’t scare me. I knew where I needed to be. So, I started the car, shifted into drive, and brought UMC along for the ride with me.

(If you want the full story, including everything that led to that leap, I was on this podcast called Soul Tears with Sean Steve Bloch earlier this fall. Check it out, if you’d like!)

I woke up the next morning, feeling like I had warped to another dimension. As I shook the cobwebs of a 16-hour drive, the first thought on my mind as I observed my surroundings was…

Did I really just move… all the way here?”

Still, there was a prevailing sense of optimism. Here I was, a youngin’ with a dream, and it was a fresh Day One toward building it! After navigating my way through Inglewood Kroger for the first time in my life, and attending my Opry orientation that night, I felt settled in. I knew it was going to take work every single day. But, I also knew that I came here to do it. All would be well, in the end.

Two years later, I’ll still tell anybody who will listen that moving to Nashville is the greatest decision I’ve ever made in my life. I am humbled and grateful by the community I’ve found in this city — and, perhaps as a product of being here, with folks all over the country and world who have found UMC over the past two years. Sharing your stories is, has been, and will always be an honor. Your drive and passion inspires me, and your willingness to welcome me and this plucky li’l platform into this amazing, dynamic world means everything.

Also, I must acknowledge the strength, love, and resilience that is the Nashville way. We’ve survived a lot together in 2020 alone — namely, tornadoes, a pandemic, and the correlating shutdowns within our industry. We still have our battles up ahead, but there’s no community with whom I’d rather face them. The sense of togetherness here is like nothing I’ve ever seen, and it’s an example for a society that needs to find unity.

We’ll have that unity again. Before (hopefully) too long, we’ll have it in-person. In fact, when this whole ‘rona thing is over, meet me at The 5 Spot. I don’t know what’s happening there that night, but I know it’s going to be LIT.

Until that glorious day, we have each other. Together, but apart, or however the tired 2020 cliché goes. Regardless, I’m grateful to you for sticking with and believing in UMC, and for actually reading all the way to the bottom of this post.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving! We’ll see you soon.

-G

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