Set #16: Ed Desabelle

Sometimes self-discovery is thrust upon you in a series of unanticipated events. Other times you find that the change happens within yourself only after deliberate exploration and experimentation. However, it is most often a subtle combination of the aforementioned. The plight of the artist – the musician – the poet – the writer – is the constant battle against mindless conformity and slipping into the warmth of convivial consensus with society. “Comfort is a good, but it will make you soft,” Ed remarks in response to my offhand plea for an end to dissatisfaction. “I don’t think it should happen because that’s when we get complacent in living.” Though I dread the thought that the battle against institutionalized, 9-5 living, will never end, I know Ed is right. The hold it has on you is the hold that you give it. Ed explains that it was until his third year of college that he finally saw a future for himself in music, and after graduating he began to make the rounds at the open mics around town. “The first open mic I hit up was somewhere in Garland and it gave me such an adrenaline rush. I was nervous as fuck, and… I was like all right I’m going to keep doing this. It’s a good feeling.”

Before Ed found his way to playing the blues, he spent some time in a death metal band in high school. It wasn’t until he began experimenting with drugs and listening to Jimmy Hendrix, that his style slowly started to shift. “I was deviating but that’s where it came from… it was a way to rebel from what I was in.” In that deviation, he found his own voice, a voice he felt stayed true to who he was. One night a few months ago, I went with Ed to Loaded Up & Truckin, the open mic once held on Tuesday nights at East Bound & Down. No one there had heard Ed sing before, and thus had no idea what to expect. As he stepped on stage, conversations in the room carried on without halt until the moment Ed began playing. I watched with a shit-eating grin as the room fell silent and everyone turned their attention to the stage. This would be the second time I’d hear Ed referred to as a “sleeper” or in other words, a musician who catches everyone off guard. Ed’s voice seems perfectly catered to the rhythm and soul of blues, his ability to emote in his music is clearly seen on his face while he plays. He seems to lose himself in the music, elevated to some separate realm where no one can touch him while he’s playing. Though Ed is happy with the path he has chosen, making the leap to pursue music full-time, he acknowledges the struggle associated with the downsides of financial instability. At one point in recent months, he even considered throwing in the towel and taking a job as a Data Analyst, but he couldn’t bring himself to go the distance. He reflects on some advice his older sister passed on to him, “she said to me – I did something that was so safe, but each day, even though it’s comfortable to live, it becomes harder to live because I didn’t risk what I wanted to do.” A lack of comfortability is something Ed is willing to risk, and something I think all artists mustn't fear to give up in order to pursue their passion because when it all comes down to it, Ed suggests, “It’s more a truth vibe like what are you really."

- Brittany Griffiths