Sometimes You Just Say "Fuck It," Throw A Piano In the Back of A Truck, and Play Your Way Down To Panama
When Negrin got back to New York, his parents -- who weren't particularly happy with his decision -- started pestering him to go back to business school or get a real estate license. "I still haven't convinced them that I'm doing the right thing," he laughs, "but they saw that I got a little bit of press and some recognition while I was out on the road, and I told them that maybe I could take that and build it into something I can support myself with, and they were like, 'OK.'"
Two more month-long trips -- one down to Florida and another up to upstate New York and Canada -- followed in 2011 and 2012, and in between he continued to play piano on the streets of Manhattan (he's been a staple at Union Square). Some days, he makes a few hundred bucks at it. He pinned a U.S. map to the front of the piano showing all of the places he's been, and he also affixed a sign with the simple yet profound message "You owe it to yourself to do something remarkable with your life." He says he regularly gets emails, and Facebook and Tumblr messages, of how he's inspired other people to follow their dreams, too.
Now he's about to head off to Panama. "The idea is to meet with different musicians in different cities, talk to interesting people who devoted their lives to music and are living extraordinary lives," he says. "Sort of like me, in a way. I feel like I'm living a dream lifestyle with music and I'd like to find other people like me and ask them about the importance of music in their lives. I'm gonna do it, then come home and see where the idea takes me.
"Sometimes I look at this, like, 'I'm a guy who plays piano on the streets with a dog, what the hell am I doing?!' But I think all artists sometimes second-guess what they're doing. I have moments, like, 'Am I doing the right thing?' But I'm so far into this, I can't stop now. And Brando's so used to traveling around now, he'd probably never forgive me."