A daughter’s not-so-accidental journey into music, from her musician-father’s eyes
As a full-time musician and father to a teenage daughter, I’ve never really had any hard ambitions of seeing her follow in my footsteps. Yeah, I’ve had daydreams when Naya was a toddler, with images of her playing the guitar sometimes floating about in my head. But they stayed as daydreams for most of her young life.
Fast-forward to September, 2020, and Naya was already asking me tips on how to sing and play the guitar at the same time! We’ve talked about fronting her own band and playing for her school this year. But how did Naya get from trying to play “Do You Want To Know A Secret” by The Beatles, to getting ready for her first gig?
It all began with a car ride.
SHOTGUN! BABY, HIT ME IF YOU CAN!
Naya and I ran a lot of errands together when she was little. Weekends would often have us in the car going to the grocery or picking something up. Most of the time, music from my iPod would be playing during those rides. We didn’t realize it that time, but Naya was absorbing it all.
One time, it was just the two of us, Naya riding shotgun. We were on our way from football practice with my reggae playlist on. When “Pass The Dutchie” by The Musical Youth came on, Naya started singing along! I was so amused, I whipped up my phone and caught it on-cam. When my wife saw the video, she jokingly exclaimed, “Oh, no! What would people think of us as parents!” in reference to the lyrics about a certain form of Jamaican “herbal medication”.
LET IT BE
I never really pushed a musical instrument into Naya’s hands. My take was, “If she’s gonna pick it up, it has to be by her own drive.” That was how it was with me and I felt it should be the same for Naya. I grew up in a home where music was always present and someone knew how to play either the piano or the guitar.
At home, I was the only one playing those instruments until Naya hit middle school. By this time, she had already plunked down a huge chunk of her savings to get her own good pair of Marley ear buds and was spending a lot of time on her Spotify playlist or my iPod. One day, as I was practicing, she casually came up and asked some questions about my bass. Eventually, Naya borrowed it and started fiddling about. Naya may have been unsure of her playing, but I was sure my heart skipped a beat or two that moment!
FEEL GOOD INC.
Pretty soon, Naya started picking up the Yamaha a lot more often, figuring out tunes thru Chordify, an online app that lets you play along to almost any song.
When she asked for help playing the bass line to “Feel Good Inc.” by The Gorillaz, I told her she was lucky to have such tools. All I had back then were my cassette tapes and the “PLAY-STOP-REWIND” buttons!
LEADER OF THE BAND
By the time she was in Grade 10, Naya had begun fiddling with my acoustic guitar, figuring out songs from her playlist, such as “Big Sis” by Sales and “Dreams Tonight” by Alvvays (pronounced “Always”). Sometimes, she’d come to me for help in challenging passages, but mostly, she was on her own. The talent was there; she just needed the confidence to really own the instrument.
The quantum leap came in March 2020. No longer spending a huge chunk of her day commuting to and from physical school and with football temporarily relegated to the sidelines, Naya had more time on both the electric guitar and bass. The results were amazing; gone were the tentative playing and stiff passages. Now, her chord transitions are spot-on and the notes have more nuances to them. By the time Naya asked me to show her how to play “Ventura Highway” by America, including the lead guitar parts, I knew she was hooked!
Just these past few weeks, she has been regularly practicing playing while singing, a clear indication of Naya’s growing confidence on the instrument. On some nights, when she feels like it, she even lets her old man jam with her on a couple of songs.
Witnessing Naya’s development firsthand was a gift that I probably never would have experienced had I been living my “past life” in the “old normal”. As our family tries our best to navigate this unique chapter in history, I can’t help but feel optimistic and downright excited for my daughter’s musical future. I’m looking forward to the day Naya starts writing and performing her own songs. But for now, after-dinner guitar and bass jam sessions will do.
About The Writer
Macky is veteran creative of the advertising industry, having started out as a copywriter and eventually heading teams as an associate creative director. After more than 12 years in PR and advertising, Macky joined a major TV network, where he did creative work for both marketing and sales.
In 2014, he joined award-winning OPM band Truefaith as bass player, juggling between his day job duties and late-night gigs. To date, Macky has had two full-length albums and several overseas gigs, including a 2017 Australia - New Zealand tour, under his belt with Truefaith. In 2018, he left the fast-paced network life to focus on his music career and be a more hands-on parent to his 13-year old daughter, Naya. In his leisure time, Macky enjoys biking, honing his kitchen skills and going on backpacking adventures with his wife Drea and Naya.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.