(Original Photo By: Meredith Truax)
Often times when we think of our favorite musicians, we assume that they live a very glamorous lifestyle. They get to travel on tour buses, private jets, live in very nice homes, hang out with celebrities, and are invited to some of the most exclusive events and parties. We idolize them, and want what they have. But I think one thing that we fail to realize is that they too are humans. They make mistakes and experience the same obstacles and difficulties as everyone else. Following our dreams is not an easy journey by any means. In fact, 22-year-old DJ/producer, Pierce Fulton says, “The one thing no one tells you when you pursue your passion is that it’s a very exciting, yet lonely journey.”
Fulton, who has been playing instruments since he was just six years old, has dreamt of becoming a touring musician for a good majority of his life. Guitar was the first instrument he learned to play and then he eventually went on to learn the piano, drums, and even trombone. He took formal lessons, but really perfected his craft through bringing his guitar to the dinner table and taking song requests from his parents and their friends. He would listen to the song and cover it as best he could on the spot. This practice, along with being a part of musical theatre, eliminated any “stage fright” and taught Pierce how important it is to improvise.
He grew up in a rural town in Southern Vermont where electronic music is practically unknown. However, that didn’t stop Pierce from experimenting with music production. Fortunately, his high school’s music department (which was run by a husband and wife) offered music theory, history, and electronic music production classes during his senior year. He quickly became fascinated with electronic music. After graduating high school, he went to college in Burlington at the University of Vermont. He released his debut EP (“Pardon My French”) via Cr2 Records in October 2011 when he was just 18 years old. He had experienced more success than he could have imagined with the release of this EP and was able to build a solid fan base during his time at UVM. He started to really see this dream come alive. Fast-forward to 2012, where Pierce felt like he could make a sustainable career out of producing music. With the support of his brother (who is his manager) and the rest of his family, Pierce decided to leave the typical life of a 20-year-old behind. He dropped out of school before finishing his Bachelor’s degree, and moved to Brooklyn, New York to pursue music full-time.
Since moving, it has been quite the roller coaster ride. He says, “When you take this whole thing on full-time, you sort of erase the rest of your life haha. It’s very hard to have a social life and focus on your career at the same time. Luckily I am able to make time to see my friends every once in a while. This past weekend I finally went back to UVM to visit for the first time since 2012 and it was amazing reconnecting with all my buddies up there.” The last two years, Pierce has put so much of his time and energy into his passion that he really hasn’t had much time for anything else. At first he saw this opportunity as a test. He thought, if he were able to live on his own in Brooklyn (living 100% independently on money he makes from music), then he would know that this is his purpose and something he could continue. Since moving from Vermont to Brooklyn 2 years ago, Pierce’s career has changed dramatically for the better.
It’s not easy to wake up every morning and know that what you’re doing is going to help you achieve your goals. There will always be a day where you may doubt yourself and think you’re not good enough. Pierce, like everyone else, has had these moments of doubt. Looking back to the past to remind himself that this music dream is something he has aspired to do his entire life, is what keeps him on track and constantly moving forward. For a while after leaving school, Pierce was so laser-focused on his music that he realized he no longer had any of his old hobbies anymore. He said, “I’ve just realized that I need to always be looking for things to fall in love with or re-fall in love with.” This includes listening to music from his teenage years, skateboarding, and re-reading books that he used to enjoy. Doing this has helped him ease any sort of doubt and loneliness during the tough times in his career.
Even though he has dabbled with many different genres of music throughout his life, Pierce has stuck with electronic music the longest and he doesn’t plan to stray from the genre anytime soon. He thinks electronic music will have a very long and healthy life if there are still producers trying new things and striving for progress and artistic integrity. Recently, he is hoping to add to this integrity by taking a new approach to his music. He doesn’t want to just be limited to the progressive/electro house sound. Rather, he wants “to keep the dance music aspect of songwriting as the rough boundaries and fill in the middle with anything and everything he wants creatively” because he believes anything can be made danceable. He has begun to do things with his production that he did early on in his music production career, which has helped him reinvent himself and his style. He now strives to really make music that is high quality, instead of just releasing music for the sake of having content.
According to Pierce, he has always been on a mission to do something different, to leave a mark that is truly his own. This is what keeps him motivated every single day. He would like to see more people doing the same thing, as well as doing our work in life with the right intentions. Right now he thinks there is a lack of real human connection, especially in the electronic music scene. We need to do a better job of trying to make others feel loved and accepted. Despite living an atypical life at just the ripe age of 22, Pierce Fulton is still finding his way, but is doing all that he can to make an impact on this world.
Watch Aspire to Inspire Live featuring Pierce Fulton here: