Two events have got me thinking about the lives of the musicians we get so much from. These two events are both related to marriage, but I won’t pretend for the sake of an article that they’re related to each other. One musician announced he’s parting ways with his wife, also a musician. That’s a sad story and I don’t want to dwell on it. But with that context still buzzing about my head I heard this announcement: Andrew Osenga is getting a new day job.
Osenga is an accomplished singer-songwriter, a onetime member of The Normals and then Caedmon’s Call, a sought-after producer, and a songwriter behind some of the greatest work of artists you might be more familiar with (e.g. Chris Tomin, Jason Gray, Jonny Diaz, JJ Heller, and the list goes on). By his reckoning, Osenga has played around 2,000 shows and logged over a half million miles in a 15-passenger van. He and his mad guitar skills have even graced the stage at Carnegie Hall. And now, he’s hanging it up.
Osenga is certainly not leaving the music business. He’ll be full time in A&R at Capitol Records’ Christian Music division in Nashville, and he’ll undoubtedly continue writing and recording music like so many artists with day jobs. One thing, though, will be quite different. He’ll have the stability that’s so often absent in musicians’ lives. He’ll have a steady salary and – gasp! – benefits.
In his post announcing the change, Osenga cites positives and negatives, and several reasons motivating this step. He highlights the one that’s of paramount importance: “Mostly, I’m excited about seeing my girls and Alison every day.”
We enjoy our music. It makes us smile, or cry. It ministers to us, and changes our outlook. In fact, we enjoy it so much that we have the audacity to demand that it be available everywhere, at all times, for our pleasure, for free.
How is it that we are even able to call it “our music”? It’s because it is a gift that has been shared with us by a songwriter, and a singer, and musicians. And we should, every once in a while, consider what it cost those people. It’s a hard life, filled with struggle and uncertainty and, most of all, time spent away from the dear ones back home. It strains marriages and parenthood, and we forget that.
I’ll miss seeing Andy Osenga perform, but I look forward to the impact he’ll have in his new position, and I’m happy for him, and even happier for his wife and daughters.
Here’s to the musician who misses home. Your sacrifice is not unnoticed.