Name: Sintja Baba
Age: 29 years old
Occupation: Bartender/ Musician “THE NAIVE” and “Marlon Chaplin”
Location: Toronto, Ontario
There’s definitely a struggle around being a musician in this city. I moved here from Albania when I was 12 with the weight of high achieving expectations from my family. But, it’s not only because of my family and my up bringing but also because of the current situation of just being able to get by. And, because of that I feel really lucky to be in my current situation of being able to pay the bills and afford to support my music while living downtown. But, I feel like if you need something that you need to speak up because you’d be surprised who is listening. That’s how I got my current apartment.
However, there have been a lot of times in the city where I have been out of a job and out of a place to live. Actually twice, within a two year period. Whether I was let go, couldn’t afford the rent or was evicted because the owner of the building wanted to sell to condo developers. And, during those two years it was really hard to keep a cool head while trying to push through and invest time into managing myself and being creative.
But, overall I am so grateful to be pursuing music here in Canada. I’ve met some amazing people and supports and I couldn’t imagine going through it without them. I am forever grateful for my close friends that kept me on the right track during all my moments of doubt. There was one year where I really considered getting an office job and following the path my parents always wanted for me. But, inevitably it took surrounding myself with like minded people, amazing musicians and playing with them five nights a week to really realize that this is what I live for. That I shouldn’t think too much about it because if you work hard, no matter what, good things will come.
One of my biggest regrets though is hesitating to release music because I felt like I needed to invest in many aspects for it to be good enough. But, I made a promise to myself to get over that. Because, when you first write something that is when you are most connected to it and if you wait to long to release it then you no longer feel connected in the same way. The music no longer represents who you are and it makes it even more difficult to connect with other people as well. I’ve made that mistake before with my first EP. So, from now on I want to make sure that my music represents me in the moment because if I wait too long then that moment will pass.
It has been a very long process for me to finally admit to myself that I am a musician and that it’s okay to fuck up. It’s okay not to be the best guitar player and it’s okay to be vulnerable. That’s how you learn. As an artist you never think you’re perfect, but I have learned some important lessons along the way. Like be patient with yourself. You’re not going to be where you want to be right away. You need to give yourself time and space to figure out your own path. And also, give yourself some credit. I can be so critical of myself. But, I’ve had to learn along the way to just accept the good that is happening and nurture it. Don’t question it. And personally, I love the struggle. The idea of a comfortable life makes me feel uncomfortable. So, I’m not complaining one bit. The struggle is a part of my identity now.