I’ve been wanting to tell my story for years but like any professional procrastinator, I kept putting it off until tomorrow. Well tomorrow turned into weeks, then months and then years! Decided with the new year quickly approaching, I wanted to get a jump start on my most important New Year’s resolution and post this blog. Since this is my first time posting, my blog will be a little on the long side but I hope anyone who has a dream (that has squashed it, given up on it, or never pursued it) will read on, be inspired and called to action. My newest motto is” It’s never too late to do what you love.”
I was adopted as a baby and never knew who my birth parents were. I always loved singing and writing and had a knack for it at an early age. My adoptive parents are loving, wonderful people but don’t have a musical bone in their bodies. They are not creative types and are pretty conservative in their views. It was ingrained in me from an early age, that after graduating from a good college, I should get a secure, full-time job with great health benefits. Well, I did as my adoptive parents wished.
For years, I worked long hours at jobs that barely paid the bills and often were abusive. I was not fulfilled and often very depressed. I secretly longed to write, sing and perform music but just never had the courage or support to do so, until my 30th birthday when I decided to find my birth mother. My birth mom claims I came out of the womb singing but I think that might have been her maternal, loving interpretation of my wailing. To make a long story short, my birth mom is a singer and my biological father (who I have not met yet and does not know I even exist) was a pianist and bass player and a graduate of the prestigious Manhattan School of Music.My maternal grandfather was very musically talented too. Apparently, he was a percussionist for The Boston Symphony for over twenty years. I never knew anything about my birth parents and had no idea that they were musically talented. My birth parents met when they were in their early twenties one summer. My birth mom was working as a singer and my birth dad was working as a pianist for a resort in the Catskills. They had a summer fling and that’s where I come into the picture. My birth mom never told my dad she was pregnant because she says he was a great guy and would have felt obligated to marry her. My birth mother was young and unable to support a child on her own so she decided to put me up for adoption.
It turns out music was definitely in my DNA and reuniting with my birth mother inspired me to finally go for my dream and pursue a music career! I quit my fifty plus hour a week, stable job and tried to never look back. It wasn’t any easy choice and has definitely been a very tough road but I don’t regret it for one moment. When I told people about my life-altering decision, I met much resistance from my family and people in the music industry, who said, “I was too old to START now and that it would be almost impossible to make it.” It was a hard pill to swallow and I was very aware of how “youth-obsessed” the music executives are but I didn’t let that stop me. I also put myself into a huge amount of debt so I could record my first full-length album, “The Great Unknown” - which I now fondly refer to as my “labor of love.”
Through a lot of hard work and perseverance, I now enjoy the support of many fans and industry people. I’ve been fortunate to have several notable placements in TV shows and film such as: “Shark” for CBS – starring James Woods, MTV’s “Blonde Charity Mafia” and the indie film “Uncross the Stars” starring Barbara Hershey and Ron Perlman. My song “Walk Away” was also a runner up in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest and my song “Bare” was a finalist out of thousands of entries in the pop category of The Billboard World Song Contest.
Today, I still struggle a lot financially and can’t make a living doing just my music but won’t give up my dream and hope in the near future that will all change.
Anyone who would like to check out my music please feel free to visit: facebook.com/michelejuskomusic (can also join my mailing list here) or youtube.com/michelejuskomusic and if you like what you hear would be great if you posted a comment. Love to also hear your “Wake Up Call” moment.