50 Musicians And Their Childhood Dream Jobs

Music Lists Childhood

Lots of children want to be rock stars when they’re young. At a certain age, most kids trade in shredding on their air guitars, manically dancing and singing with reckless abandon for other professions as they get older. They go on to pursue other jobs as accountants, documents, writers or whatever other lines of work they come across. That inner-musician, however, still carries on somewhere inside those in the work force.

For those actually who do end up becoming musicians, it wasn’t always the first career path that they had in mind. Some have wanted to write songs since the day they were born, but for others, they were set on becoming athletes, marine biologists, garbage men, monster illustrators and Santa Claus. See what 50 different established musicians originally had in store for themselves with their first childhood dream jobs.

Kamtin Mohager
The Chain Gang Of 1974
First dream job: NHL Player

Why that job? Living in Hawaii as a kid, ice hockey wasn’t really possible. My three brothers and I all became obsessed with the game at a young age, though. Inline hockey was the only option, but I dreamt of becoming the star goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The game was my life. My room was covered in trophies, and posters of Felix Potvin and Pavel Bure. I’m pretty sure us and the neighborhood kids watched Airborne every weekend to get pumped for our games.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: 9 years old.

Emma Nadeau
Lost in the Trees
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First dream job: First Female President

Why that job? It’s definitely in my personality to see a void and want to fill it. And we obviously need a female president, right? At least that was clear to me when I was 5 years old. I also think it’s hilarious that I didn’t consider the possibility that there might be another female president before I turned 35; I just assumed I would be the first. I guess it could still happen! For better or worse, at this point… [Fun fact: Jenavieve Varga, violinist in Lost in the Trees, also wanted to be the first female president of the US. Does that say something about our band?]

Age when she wanted to be that profession: Not sure what age I was, but I was a pretty precocious kid, so maybe 4 or 5?

Luke Temple
Here We Go Magic
First dream job: Monster Illustrator

Why that job? I was obsessed with drawing Eddie the iron Maiden mascot as fast and accurate as possible. The Grateful Dead’s steal-your-face was next. My friend Ernie dared me to draw 50 steal-your-faces in the boys bathroom, I was immediately caught and suspended.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: 12 years old.

Christopher Owens
First dream job: Carpenter

Why that job? I showed a very early interest in tools, and wanting to have tools. I lived in Communes growing up, these homes always had at least one ‘Handy Man.’ I was pathologically drawn to the ‘Handy Man’ for whatever reasons, but my Mom surprised me with a denim tool belt that she sewed for me out of my old jeans. remembering all this makes me feel very emotional, but overall, happy.

Shara Worden
My Brightest Diamond
First dream job: I have a piece of paper from the second grade that asked us to circle our dream jobs. I circled three: Artist, Veterinarian and Musician.

Why that job? I loved animals and since we lived in a rural area I was able to
catch a lot of different kind of animals and keep them in my “zoo.” I thought being a vet was a logical choice if you were an animal lover. I also loved drawing. Since most of my family were musicians I figured that was what you did when you became a grown up.

Age when she wanted to be that profession: I had a solo in the Christmas musical at church in 1st grade when we were living in New Orleans. That is the first public performance I remember. I had to wear a nightgown as a costume.

Marisa Nadler
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First dream job: Fashion Designer

Why that job? From a pretty young age, I wanted to be a fashion designer or definitely some kind of fine artist. I was always drawing and loved to design costumes. I got this Crayola stencil kit where I could outline the body shapes and just draw the clothes on the women. This was a dream come true for me. I still have thousands of early ‘designs’ underneath my childhood bed.

I did end up going on to art school to study illustration and painting before getting more seriously into music, so it’s not much of a shocker I guess.

Age when she wanted to be that profession: I think I started this dream when I was about nine or so. I can’t really remember.

Bela Fleck
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones

First dream job: Science-Fiction Writer

Why that job? I loved to read science fiction and stuff about American Indians, and always thought I would be a writer if I didn’t move out west and ‘help’ the Indians! I ended up getting a job as a shelver at the Library while in high school. One day I was told that I would have to choose between being a shelver or a musician after I asked for a day off to do a gig or rehearsal or whatever. With great sadness, I chose music…

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Age 14 or 15.

Rachael Yamagata

First dream job: Spy/Sociologist

Why that job? From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to figure out why people did what they did… [I] was always the fly on the wall taking notes. My favorite class in college was the ‘Sociology of the Criminal Mind’ and the best assignment we had was to present our ever elusive professor with facts we’d found out about him. After sneaking into his office and passing him back his personal details, I knew I had a knack for delving into the story of a person beyond what they normally show. Somehow I’ve made it legal by turning it into song.

Age when she wanted to be that profession: From age 5, I was always digging in dirt and I guess I still am…

Tyler Schwarz
Surfer Blood

First dream job: U-Haul’s Art Director

Why that job? My first dream job was to be the Art Director of the U-Haul moving company. I couldn’t imagine a better job than choosing the art for the side of the trucks. I later set my sites on a more obtainable position within the organization; choosing the music for when customer service places you on hold. “I am going to change the world of art, one move at a time.” “U can do it.”

Age when he wanted to be that profession: 8

Rob Barber
High Places
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First dream job: Santa Claus

Why that job? I believed Santa Claus was a job you got voted into, like a public office position. I figured this because I would see many different images of different Santas, and that made me believe that it wasn’t just one person throughout history. I genuinely believed I had a shot at being a Santa Claus. When I was told that I was incorrect in my assumption, and that there was only one Santa, who had been alive “for thousands of years,” I became morbidly terrified of Santa Claus. Until I found comfort in heavy metal and rap music.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Probably around three or four.

John Michael Rouchell
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First dream job: Sports Journalist

Why that job? Before I fell in love with music, I wanted to be Bob Costas or someone of the like. I loved the intricacies and nerdiness with regard to facts and stats. I also was fascinated by interviewers. I knew that I couldn’t play sports because I was a tiny kid. Eventually, my obsession with sports morphed into an obsession with music and records. Baseball card collecting became record collecting pretty quickly.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: From a very young age. When I was three, I remember knowing starting lineups for nearly every team in every sport. I remember writing out interviews for my favorite players. I took it way too far.

Ryan Kattner (Honus Honus)
Man Man, Mister Heavenly
First dream job: Singing Zookeeper

Why that job? When I was in kindergarten I remember we had a drawing project in class where we were required to illustrate our dream profession. I was able to narrow it down to two jobs but couldn’t settle on either, so I just ended up combining them. Who would have thought that all these years later my drawing of a ‘singing zookeeper’ would be so relevant to my lifestyle today. Damn you, little me.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: How old is a small human in kindergarten? I was that age.

Jon Barthmus
Sun Airway
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First dream job: Garbage Man

Why that job? My reasoning was fairly simple. They get to a) ride around on a
truck all day and b) well really that’s it. I just wanted to ride around on a truck all day. I thought it looked like so much fun. I used to draw the garbage men pictures and bring them out when they came by.

Age when they wanted to be that profession: This probably started when I was about six.

Katie Herzig
First dream job: Police Officer

Why that job? I remember a show on TV about four sisters, one of which was a cop. I was one of four sisters, so I dreamed of being the cop sister.I think it had to do with getting to wear a uniform, helping people and using a walkie talkie.

Age when she wanted to be that profession: 12 years old.

Steve Terebecki
White Denim
First dream job: Architect

Why that job? My first dream job that I started to pursue was being an Architect so
that I could design buildings that had great secretive places that were great for skateboarding. I owned this dream all throughout middle school and high school and it lasted all the way until i found out that Old Dominion University didn’t have an Architecture program.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: 13 years old.

Kevin Devine
Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band
First dream job: Second Baseman, New York Mets

Why that job? When I was in second grade, I really wanted to be Wally Backman, the hardscrabble and mercurial moustached second baseman for the 1986 Mets. He was a tough runt and a sparkplug, not a superstar or a big-bopper, but the kind of player show was always covered in dirt.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Second grade.

Jason Sechrist
Portugal. The Man
First dream job: Paleontologist

Why that job? When I was younger I was very into reptiles; I wanted to be involved in the Illustration of Paleontology.

Age when they wanted to be that profession: seven.

Jolie Holland
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First dream job: I wanted to write fiction, and I wanted to be a musician. The only image of a professional musician I could conceive of, as, say a six-year-old, was something like Mozart in the film Amadeus. I used to spend hours in my room at the piano. A family friend had left a piano in Texas when she moved out of the state and it was kept in my bedroom. I never got any lessons and couldn’t read music. I was something of a child prodigy as a musician, and the idea of Mozart helped me to not feel like a freak. I started epic novels before the age of ten, and of course, I didn’t finish them.

Why that job? Reading and music were the only completely personal imaginative spaces open to me as a child. I could really feel who I was, separate from my family, in those activities. I wrote fiction, poetry and music constantly as a child. It was a solace to me, in the midst of the drama of my family life. I was reading by the age of four.

Independently of school, (at the age of seven) this is the first poem I ever wrote:

Away from the South
In the caves of Grousth
Lived the Terrible Illitchical Touth—
A dragon of war, a dragon of fire,
A dragon who loved the town’s small choir.

He loved it so much, one day he traveled to town
To hear the sound from all around.

When the town saw the dragon,
They packed up and left,
But the poor old dragon sat down
And cried himself to death.

Age when she wanted to be that profession: I think I was pretty well aware I wanted to be a musician and a writer by the age of seven.

Matt Oliver
TV Torso

First dream job: Batman

Why that job? It probably doesn’t count as a job but in my earliest memory my dream job was for the position of Batman. I was three, maybe four. We didn’t have any comic books and barely watched any TV, so Batman was more of a foggy representation of something that I had than anything actually corresponding to the actual Batman of popular culture. Batman was someone whose cause was just and didn’t have answer to anybody. Also he had really, really great gear and got to wear a cape. I can remember sitting in a circle with a bunch of other kids, going around the room and telling a teacher what they wanted to be. “Fireman.” “Lawyer.” “Doctor.” “Batman.” That was it. I Pretty sure they took my name down then and they’ve been after me ever since.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Three.

Dave Lamb
Brown Bird
First dream job: Popeye

Why that job? I watched a lot of Popeye cartoons and loved the Popeye movie with Robin Williams. I wanted to live in the Sweethaven port town that they created in the movie. Looking back on it, the Harry Nilsson soundtrack might have had something to do with it too.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Age Three or four.

David Dargahi
The Postelles

First dream job: Soccer Star

Why that job? When I was a child my father played Soccer with me and explained what the World Cup was. I soon set out on a path of playing as much as I could in hopes of making the US World Cup squad.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Seven years old.

Ivan Howard
The Rosebuds

First dream job: NBA Player

Why that job? I started playing organized basketball at age 7 and just really loved it from the first time I picked up a ball. I tried to play everyday of my life until I broke my arms in a pickup game, a week before the season was set to start my freshman year of college at UNCW. During that down time, I learned to play the guitar and I started to see things a little differently after that. On one highs school AAU All star team I was on, 3 of the starters other than myself did go on to play in the NBA, the fourth played in the NFL. I still love watching and playing basketball to this day. There’s just something about the fluidity of the movements that I just can’t seem to replicate in any other sport I get a chance to play.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: 7 years old.

William Elliott Whitmore
First dream job: Artist

Why that job? I’ve always enjoyed drawing. I liked creating images that did not exist elsewhere. My dream was to draw and write comic books. More specifically, comics about tractors and trucks.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Five years old.

Kalmia Traver
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First dream job: Scientist/Explorer

Why that job? I grew up in wild Vermont and my desire to be a scientist was less a desire and more an uncontrollable innate habit/ tendency. I ran around naked in the woods berry-picking, finding salamanders under rocks, building dams, learning names of trees, taking things apart. All kids voraciously explore their environments, but I had a special love for nature, and exploratory deconstruction of things. I read every issue of Ranger Rick, and took apart my parents old computers. Science was so romantic and magical to me, and still is, especially now that I’ve realized that I have no real skills for research or critical thinking, haha! Just still a deep happiness whenever I’m scruffing around, discovering things. Now that I think about it, I probably liked the innards of computers more for their bling-y wires and crazy shapes/patterns, than for any understanding of digital functionality.

Age when she wanted to be that profession: Five years old.

Tom Greenberg
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First dream job: Fighter Pilot

Why that job? I took my first flight when I was 6 weeks old and it stuck with me. According to my mom, my face was pressed against the window for the entire 5 hour journey. From ages 3 to 10, my obsession with fighter jets came from their anthropomorphic qualities. The finesse and grace with which they moved reminded me of the Orca whales I also had an infatuation with during that time. I had no idea how planes worked, nor did I care. In part, it was my ignorance that fueled my desire to fly them.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: 3 years old.

Mason Jennings
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First dream job: Sports Statistician

Why that job? I thought it’d be the sweetest thing imaginable to be a football or baseball statistician. To be at all the games. To make sense and order out of the beautiful games. I used to read the stats religiously. At night I would organize the football divisions in my head to relax. Then one day at school they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up and I said: “statistician.” It got quieter and more pointy in the room than dead dust and I heard the sound of my coolness drowning in a familiar little teeny nerd pond. My dream was crushed. And from the muck another dream grew.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Eight years old.

Brian Koch
Blitzen Trapper

First dream job: Professional Wrestler

Why that job? As a young boy I dreamed of being a professional wrestler. I was inspired by my father, a wrestling coach, and wholesome WWF role models like Jimmy ‘The Superfly’ Snuka, to enter that square circle. Oh how I wanted to soar from the turnbuckle, crashing down onto another man’s ribs; to allay our Cold War fears by putting the Iron Sheik in a brutal submission hold. Sadly, the reality of elementary school wrestling practice put an end to that dream.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Six to eight years old.

Lauren Shera
First dream job: Actress/Dancer

Why that job? I was such a shy kid, but when it came to putting on a show I went all out! I used to line up my ‘audience’ of friends and family members in our backyard and hand-make tickets for them to give back to me as admission to the show. I choreographed dances for my sister and I, and usually did some kind of dramatic monologue. I remember my mom styling my hair big and curly, and I’d make her introduce me as Julia Roberts!

Age when she wanted to be that profession: Five years old.

Keith McEachern
The Wandas
First dream job: Elvis Impersonator in Vegas

Why that job? At a very young age I was introduced to Elvis Presley. Everything about him excited me; His hair, voice, stage presence, screaming fans. Once I realized you could make a living looking and sounding like Elvis, I became obsessed. Everyday before school I’d spend 20 minutes adding gel and combing my hair the same way Elvis had his styled. I would perform Elvis songs every opportunity I was given; weddings, birthday parties, holiday parties, etc.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Nine years old.

Henry Kaye
Static Jacks
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First dream job: Starting Center for the New York Knicks

Why that job? I wanted to follow in my hero Patrick Ewing’s footsteps. I wanted to go to Georgetown, and then be the first pick in the NBA draft by the Knicks. I was set on it.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Eight years old.

Brian Moen
Peter Wolf Crier
First dream job: Cartoonist

Why that job? I saw the artist studios at Disneyworld on a trip with my family when I was 6. I had always been obsessed with drawing, and as a kid what could be cooler than the most incredible cartoons being made?! To the kid who would freak out about coloring outside the lines at 2, that was the pinnacle of art.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: 6 years old.

Lia Ices
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First dream job: Triple Threat (Actor/Singer/Dancer)

Why that job? I was obsessed with old movie musicals when I was little. My favorite was Betty Grable in a movie called Moon Over Miami. She was so beautiful, she was funny, an incredible singer, and the most insane tap dancer. Having all of those traits in one person completely blew my mind. I’d watch those dance routines on repeat trying to glean everything I could from her.

Age when she wanted to be that profession: 7 years old.

Suz Slezak
David Wax Museum

First dream job: Owner of a store called “Tats”

Why that job? Since I was a little kid my dream was to run a store called “Tats.” The original store front was set up in an old orange crate that my dad had used to build snow forts when he was a kid in Johnstown, Pa., and was complete with a tiny broken cash register. I sold knick knacks (the toys I no longer wanted), trinkets I made out of cloth and clay, and other useful items such as a plastic pink hair barrette with a poodle on it, and handmade stationery. And the prized item for sale: a miniature teddy bear wearing a lopsided magician’s hat that I’d won at an Easter egg hunt that cost a whopping 50 cents.

Although touring with a band was never on my early list of dream jobs, it has actually allowed me to experience the joys of “Tats” since I get to set up and sell our wares behind our merch table each night. Maybe I should start putting up a sign that says “Tats” to really live out the dream!

Age when she wanted to be that profession: Probably four years old. Really ever since I can remember.

Shane McKillop
Gardens & Villa

First dream job: Motorcycle Racer

Why that job? I liked pavement. I liked the smell of tires screeching on pavement. I grew up in a town that primarily had dirt roads, so any slick race tracks with squeeling motors and fans cheering in excitement allured me. As most kids, your bike was your key to freedom, exploration, and speed. I was always mobbing around town on this bike that I’ve had since I was 2 years old. My dad would help me mod the wheels and the seat so that I could still ride it when I got taller. I never did any racing. I never competed. But I knew I would shred everyone had I been given the chance. Obviously.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Three years old.

Matt Hensley
Flogging Molly
First dream job: First ‘dream job’ was to get good at skateboarding and make it to the top. I made that dream happen and come true.

Why that job? I felt more comfortable in this world on four wheels than on my own two feet.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: 10 years old.

Taraka and Nimai Larson
Prince Rama
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First dream job: Cat Ladies

Why that job? When the world fails you, you’re never alone if you’ve got tons of cats.

Age when they wanted to be that profession: Taraka, age four. Nimai, age three.

Zach Rogue
Rogue Wave, Release The Sunbird
First dream job: Baseball Player

Why that job? We had season tickets to the A’s when I was a kid and completely idolized Rickey Henderson from day one. All I wanted was to be a baseball player for the A’s; which was tough since I had no arm and couldn’t hit a curveball. By the time I hit high school, it was clear that a) I would never start varsity (or play at all) and b) I better think of a new dream.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Six years old.

Jonny Corndawg

First dream job: Ninja

Why that job? I remember my first (self-taught) ninja training. Relentless hours on end, honing my ninja craft in the front yard with a machete, a BB gun and some nunchucks. Who knows how many neighborhood cats lay slain to my training? All of this from an old Bruce Lee VHS I found in the trash.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Six years old.

Stefanie Drootin-Senseney
Big Harp
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First dream job: Marine Biologist

Why that job? Growing up in Southern California, I spent a lot of time at the beach. I guess around four I decided I wanted to be a marine biologist (or maybe a dolphin). That was my stock answer to the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question until I was 14. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a musician.

Age when she wanted to be that profession: Four years old.

Paul Duncan
Warm Ghost

First dream job: I’m pretty sure the first thing I wanted to be was Dracula.

Why that job? Hanging out in a castle in solitude, lucrative property owner, well dressed, magical powers, flying, immortality… sounded like a pretty sweet job to me.

Age when they wanted to be that profession: Six maybe?

Nate Eiesland
Scattered Trees
First dream job: Fireman

Why that job? My dad was a fireman. He used to visit our classrooms in grade school to talk about fire safety. I felt like such a bad ass when he would let me put his gigantic uniform on.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Six years old.

Aaron Chapman
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First dream job: To be in a band.

Why that job? I fell in love with music at an early age. Growing up in a small town, being in a band always seemed sort of out of reach—like you had to be born with special magical powers and big hair to make records and perform music for a living. Freddy Mercury didn’t look like anyone i had seen in Idaho. I always really romanticized it and dreamed of doing it for a living.

Anya Marina

First dream job: Actor/Entertainer

Why that job? I always wanted to be a performer of some kind. At the age of eight, I remember sending a letter to Walt Disney Pictures, availing myself for any of their upcoming projects, film or otherwise. They replied with a personal letter encouraging me to “find a talent agent and keep pursuing your wildest dreams.” (I think the letter still exists somewhere in my basement, but the Goofy and Mickey stickers included in the envelope have since been lost. 50 points for thoughtfulness, though, Disney!).

As I grew up, I held onto that sage advice—dispensed to me most likely by a bored but well-meaning secretary—and I followed my dreams. Now my sights were set on sitcoms, and later, on my favorite live comedy show: Saturday Night Live. I fantasized about getting a walk-on role as Samantha’s best friend on Who’s The Boss? or Kirk Cameron’s young crush on Growing Pains. Alas, as a Bay Area tween, I was nowhere near Hollywood and I still didn’t have an agent.

Once I turned 16 I begged my parents to let me take a solo road trip to Los Angeles. Using sheer will and perseverance, I had somehow I secured a voice-over audition for The Simpsons, one of the hottest new animated shows at the time.

Being 16 and clueless, I think I left my house in the Bay Area at 6AM in hopes of arriving well ahead of time for a 3 o’clock audition. Well, of course, I found myself in some traffic debacle somewhere on the Grapevine of I-5 and ended up greivously late, wandering around the Fox lot in circles, trying to find the casting agent’s office. A few minutes before Bonnie Pietila, head of casting, was about to head out and lock up for the day, I walked into her office sheepishly.

She was kind enough to see me in spite of my lateness and the fact that I was not at all the type of voice-over actor she was used to seeing (i.e. a real one).

“Who’s your agent?”

“I, uh, I represent myself right now. I’m between agents.”

“Okayyyy.” She was looking over my very short resume, complete with my recent stint as “Laurie, sister to lead” in Sunnyvale Theatre’s production of Brighton Beach Memoirs.

“How many voices do you do?”

“Um. I guess about 5?” It was at this moment that I realized I’d been so excited about even getting a meeting and a script, that I hadn’t bothered preparing anything at all. I thought I’d be asked to read something from the script, but we hadn’t even gotten to that yet. She wanted to know what artillery I was bringing to the fight!

I scrambled and told her I could do a British boy, a British girl (identical), a Russian (I had a Russian mother and relatives, so this was easy), a Valley girl (who couldn’t?!) and a very general Southern accent. I pulled out all the stops and did them all to the best of my ability. And then I looked at her.

She looked tired. Really, really tired. But then she sort of half-smiled.

“Listen,” she said, handing me back my resume. “You’re not gonna get this, first of all. You just don’t have enough voices. So, let’s get that out of the way. Second of all, you’re two hours late. Never, ever be late again. It just doesn’t look good.”

I nodded. I wanted to die.

“But you know what? I like that you came all the way from wherever you’re from to be here. You don’t even live in LA, right? How old are you?”

I told her. Sixteen.

“OK, kiddo. Well…look, you’re not bad. Go home. Get an agent. And just…you know…keep at it. And come see us again when you have 12 voices worked up.”

I drove the entire way home in silence, but I remember not feeling bad. I remember feeling quietly victorious. To anyone else, I had failed—I wasn’t going to be a voice on The Simpsons. But to myself I had just gotten farther in life than I ever thought possible. I had set foot on a Hollywood lot, holding the script of one of the greatest shows on television, and I had a real reason to be there!
I felt completely and totally alive and filled with a purpose. I would continue, I would be back, I would succeed.

I never did go back to the Simpsons, specifically, nor did I ever try the SNL route. But I did become a full-time entertainer just a year out of college. I got a job “voice-over talent” after all, spending 10+ years on the radio as a DJ, and later (over the last few years), living, working and touring as a full time musician and songwriter.

I knew in that car, driving home from LA, at the age of 16 that I wanted to work in entertainment. I wanted to belong in that world. It was years and years, miles and miles away, but it felt like home, and I knew I would get there.

Tim Wilson
Ivan & Alyosha

First dream job: Background singer for Michael Jackson, or 6th member of New Kids On The Block, no joke.

Why that job? As far as the New Kids go, I got the watch for my birthday in 2nd or 3rd grade, I had the cassettes and would dance and sing to their songs in my garage. I remember thinking, “hey, I can sing alright!” I was way into the pop thing, even into high school. As far as MJ, he’s always been a huge influence, I wanted to be in his band, I thought we could be friends… 20/20 hindsight I’m glad I didn’t end up in a boy band, or Michaels band, I can’t dance anyways, bad hips.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Um, grade school, first or second grade.

James Diers
Halloween, Alaska

First dream job: CIA Agent

Why that job? I reckon most Western-world children — boys, at least — have their moments of pretending to be a spy and acting out some sort of James Bond fantasy. But I took it a little more seriously than that. At a certain point, I really viewed espionage as a viable career path. I’m sure it started with TV shows and movies that romanticized the life of a secret agent, like they do for tons of kids, but I was genuinely interested in learning about what it would take to study and train for that kind of work. Would I have to be good at math? Where specifically would I stash my various fake passports and disguise kits? At what point would I get my own pistol silencer? I’m an only child of divorced parents, which in some ways led to me feeling pretty solitary and self-reliant as a young kid. Those aspects of tradecraft were appealing, a way to put those qualities to good use. You grow older and you come to understand the uglier parts of working in the U.S. intelligence community, but as a kid, it seemed like one of the most fun and most ruggedly noble occupations a person could have.
Age when they wanted to be that profession: Seven years old.

Patrick James Grossi
Active Child

First dream job: Marine Biologist

Why that job? My dream job as a kid was to be a marine biologist. Or more specifically, i wanted to be the kid in Free Willy. I went and saw the movie with my mom and was naturally inspired by the image of a beautiful orca breaching over a jetty and being set free into the open ocean. After that I was hooked on killer whales. and they’re still my favorite animal to this day. I think I must have been 10 years old at the time. I can remember walking to the library and taking out every book i could find on orcas. I went home with the books, didn’t read a thing, but spent the rest of the day drawing whales.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: 10 years old.

Josh Martin
Little Tybee
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First dream job: Rock Star (Son of Kurt Cobain and Marilyn Manson)

Why that job? You just don’t understand! I wanna rock the smirks off of all those preppy faces at the battle of the bands next Saturday, but my parents are trying to oppress me with some authoritarian dictatorship because I got a C in social studies!

Age when he wanted to be that profession: 13 years old.

Jack O’Brien
Bright Light Social Hour
First dream job: Michael Jackson

Why that job? When I was a kid I really thought I could be MJ when I grew up, especially after seeing the video for “Bad.” I was very shy, but always ready to bust out the dance-fighting/singing when Michael came on.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Six years old.

Joel Cummins
Umphrey’s McGee

First dream job: Professional Baseball Player

Why that job? I grew up outside of Chicago and played lots of sports as a kid. My dad took me to my first Cubs game when I was 5 years old, and by the age of 8 I was ready to pursue the dream of being a professional baseball player. Sports were cool and I knew how to hit a ball, was a pretty good first baseman too. Guys like Ryne Sandberg & Mark Grace of the Chicago Cubs were early heroes of mine, what could be better than playing baseball 200 days a year and working at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field? The answer is nothing! I played a lot of baseball through high school, hit a few home runs but was more of a line drive / contact hitter. Long after I had given up my dream of baseball, I had the apex of my baseball career. At the 2008 edition of Bonnaroo, the artist area had a batting cage where artists competed to win tickets to the World Series. You got 15 swings, and the most fair balls on those swings won the tickets. I tied with the Kings of Leon’s Nathan Followill with 14 fair balls and won the tie breaker by predicting the Cubs would win 17 games in July of that year (they won 16). While I couldn’t attend the World Series as Umphrey’s McGee was on tour, my wife Dasha was able to attend in my absence. Thanks to my parents and all my coaches for batting practice back in the day!

Age when he wanted to be that profession: Age seven, I finally got baseball while watching the St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1982 World Series.

Pete Bernhard
The Devil Makes Three
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First dream job: Musician

Why that job? Everyone I looked up to as a kid was a musician or artist, most of them were my members of my family. When I was young, it was the only thing that seemed to make sense other than driving a firetruck which faded quickly as an option when I hit my teenage years. It seemed impossible to become a musician or artist and everyone I talked to said it was impossible, therefore it was the obvious first choice.

Age when he wanted to be that profession: 12 years old.

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