Mail Attachment 34For the past several years Joe Romanelli and I have made the trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for the annual BOLO conference. BOLO (“Be On The Lookout”) gathers a small group of digital industry professionals from around the country to learn about what’s next in digital media and how to tell our own stories better online. The perfect theme for this story.

It’s become not only a place to pick up great ideas, but to connect or reconnect with some pretty amazing people. This past year, however, I had a brief encounter with someone who alone made the entire trip worthwhile.

I was approached by Susan Baier at the conference, who wanted to know if I’d be willing to sit down and meet her daughter Emma, a 13-year-old budding musician who happens to be a big fan of my music. Apparently she’s been listening to my tunes for the past few years, and (in a small way) they’ve inspired her to continue to make music.

Mail Attachment 29Emma and I chatted about songwriting, how to get started performing and recording, and how you can always be a musician even if its not a full-time job. She even brought her ukulele for me to sign (how awesome is that)! Seriously, I felt like a celebrity, and promptly removed my conference badge to be a little less geek and a little more rock ‘n roll for the pictures!

For me, that experience was incredibly humbling and enlightening. Humbling because in many ways I don’t consider myself a “real” musician, and to be told that I’ve influenced a young person to pursue their dream is quite a gratifying experience. Enlightening because I’ve been sharing my music and passions online for many years, leaving a trail of digital breadcrumbs in the hopes they might resonate with someone, and it turned out someone was following my trail. Meeting Emma is proof that when you share what is important to you, maybe without even knowing it, you’ll reach someone.

The takeaway? Be generous in sharing your stories, ideas, passions and time. You’ll never know who’s watching. And to Emma: Good luck on your music career!