There are many ways an individual can choose to live their life. Hearing the stories of successful people can vary wildly about how they “made it” or even what success is.
To paraphrase “The Hero’s Journey” by Joseph Campbell, there is a seemingly universal moment where people have to make a choice about whether prepared or not, going the way of the village or the hero.
The life of the village is the conventional path, while the hero is the path of taking risks and unconventional lifestyles. Both are valid and meant for different people. For those who take a risk and follow their dreams, it seems like success is the part of the story everyone is interested in. The in-between moments are only truly seen by the individual.
Carla Hager left the village a long time ago. She’s not a household name and you wouldn’t recognize her walking down the street, but she’s one of the many people out there climbing her own Mt. Everest one day at a time.
Originally from Palmdale, Hager grew up in a household surrounded by music.
“My father was an Elvis impersonator and instilled a love of music at an early age,” she said.
Into adulthood, she continued this path by attending Antelope Valley College’s Commercial Music Program. Soon after, two things crossed Hager’s path that would entirely change her life.
Around this time, her father passed away and her boyfriend at the time, received an offer to move to New Orleans for his career. She took the plunge with him and fell in love with the city almost instantly.
“I knew I would never leave,” Hager said. “Right off the bat, I got a job as a bartender at Coyote Ugly. It was an amazing experience. This let me dance, sing my heart out and discover a sexy confidence about myself.”
While bartending on Bourbon Street, Hager began to be invited on stage by bands that would hear her sing on her shifts. After continuing to do this, her manager heard her sing on stage and recommended her to various musicians for work.
This opened the door for her to pursue her passion. After gigging with various cover bands and hustling for work, Hager has landed her best gig yet.
“I work five days a week,” she said. “One with a daytime band called Half Past Whiskey and four nights, Thursday through Sunday, with my band Dysfunction, which consists of my best friends and now-fiancé.” While singing on Bourbon Street, Hager has had the good fortune of singing with the cast of Rock of Ages and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, who happened to be walking by.
On the surface, this life looks like heaven, but it’s no easy life.
“Working on the street can be draining both physically and mentally,” Hager said. “You are constantly surrounded by booze and partying. It is not for the faint of heart. We’re racking four to seven hours a night with each other on stage, with two 30-minute breaks. That is significantly longer than most concerts.”
To most people, singing with Steven Tyler could be the ultimate “I could die now, my work is done” moment.
For the many people on the path away from the village, this moment is important fuel for the fire.
“As far as the future goes, I have the best gig on the street as of now, so I am going to ride that train as long as possible,” Hager said. “All the while I’m building my network and writing music with my friends and fiancé at our studio. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything in the world, its the best.”
To all those in the midst of their journey, stay the course. Fortune favors the bold.