Project Description

“Free”

By Erol Oz

Gig-workers are faced with a crisis in 2020. How are we supposed to make a living as performers when the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many local businesses to shut their doors? Sure, there are streaming platforms like Facebook Live, but even now with major-label artists turning to streaming concerts, what chance does that leave for unsigned artists who don’t already have a massive following? And furthermore, the relative anonymity of Facebook makes some people feel entitled to say whatever they want, regardless of how insensitive it may be. I recently came across a post that said something to the effect of (and I’m paraphrasing):

“I’m so tired of all these streaming concerts. When are you going to accept that your careers are over and move on and get real jobs?”

Not only is this pretty insensitive to performing artists, but it is also not taking into account the fact that millions of people with “real jobs” are now out of work and facing serious economic hardship due to the pandemic. I feel truly fortunate. I am able to do what I love and pay a mortgage in St. Petersburg. But based on the former comments, I feel it is necessary to explain that artists deal with an enormous amount of rejection throughout their careers. They are often underpaid. They have to spend as much if not more time promoting their work as they do creating it. It is hard. And the very career you love with all the passion you have to give can repeatedly beat you down and demoralize you. But we persist.

So I wrote this song:

“Free”

Never worked a day in my life.
That’s what some people might say.
I think about all those sleepless nights
when I walk off the stage.
My hands are blistered and torn
from all the songs that I’ve played.
I piece together a living
from the tips I’ve been paid.

Do what you love
and you’ll always be free.
Let me ask you a question,
And don’t you dare lie to me.
Do you still think that I’m living out my dream?

I won’t make enough money
to afford good health care
when my knuckles start to swell
and I lose all my hair.
I spend my days by the phone,
waiting for someone to call.
For someone just to give me my chance
just to sing my songs.

Do what you love
and you’ll always be free.
Let me ask you a question,
And don’t you dare lie to me.
Do you still think that I’m living out my dream?

© 2020 Erol Ozsever.
Lyrics and Music by Erol Ozsever.
Recorded at Zen Recording, Pinellas Park, FL
Featuring: Steve Connelly – Pedal steel guitar
Luz Vasquez – Violin

Free is available for download at https://eroloz.bandcamp.com. Release date for Spotify and Apple Music is September 1st. Every download helps cover marketing, advertising, and distribution costs.