I heard about a twelve year old boy who plays guitar like an old master from a friend of mine who owns Lucy’s 51, one of the oldest and most popular watering holes in Toluca Lake. I had an experience seeing and listening to Ray Goren live at Lucy’s 51. There was a full house and loads of energy the night he played. When Ray started to strum his Fender Stratocaster guitar, he seemed like he was transported somewhere else. His eyes were closed and rolled upwards, his passion palpable. I watched him with a big grin on my face as I felt his passion for music.
At three years old, Ray played nursery songs on a toy keyboard and by five, he was listening to jazz, playing his own versions of his favorites like Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. The first time he heard BB King he said “I felt something that I never felt before.” This is a sign of someone meant to pursue a passion, an inexplicable need and desire to keep doing it over and over. This boy is consumed by a great love for music and is not destined for mediocrity.
I heard Michael Jackson, when he was twenty years old, say “it hurts when it’s inside of me (music) and it can’t get out and it’s hidden from the world. When I am doing solo albums, I feel like I’m accomplishing what I’m supposed to do.” Watching and listening to Ray Goren reminded me of the passion and genius of Michael. The word “passion” comes from the Latin patior, which means, “to suffer or to endure.” It’s not that we crave the pain but when you are passionate, you’re willing to endure the pain. I believe that if art is empowered by pain and difficulty, then truly that art is a passion. It’s the height of my emotions welling up inside.
I think all great achievers are willing to go through all the pain for their passion. It’s an unrelenting obsession that drives them, a desire and willingness to put in hours and hours of deliberate practice. They are impassioned and enraptured. A Psychology Today article “Genius, Genes and Gusto: How Passions Find You” states that “genes can facilitate the rate of learning to a considerable degree. Case studies and research have repeatedly shown that many accomplished and creative individuals learn the requisite knowledge and skills of their domain faster than less accomplished individuals.” It’s fulfilling an inner need, a calling. I think the desire, even the rush of dopamine, has a genetic basis. When I think of Ray Goren, I feel his passion and it’s a rare treat to witness.
Check out this 40 second clip of Ray.