Think of a time where you were working on something significant for the very first time. If you’re a producer, maybe that’s your first song. If you’re a blogger, it might be your first article. Hell, you might even think about the first meaningful relationship you’ve ever had. It’s scary, isn’t it? You are afraid because things might not go as planned. You fear being judged. Well I have some good news for all of you…you are not alone. We’ve all experienced this fear including Matt Meier and Willie Watkins, aka Barely Alive.

In early 2013 they wrote their first song together, “Killer in You”. It was a huge undertaking to get it finished because they were still very new to dance music and didn’t really know what they were doing. They said, “It took months for us to just get a working copy finished. We learned a lot from writing that first song, and every song after it, so now it’s not such a struggle to write music.” The difficulty didn’t stop them, though; they were resilient and persevered. The song was finished and it was April 21st, the night before this first release (on Dirty Duck Audio). At the time, they were going to be dubbed “Will da Beats & Hook Jr.” However, the name didn’t appeal to them very much so they were scrambling to think of a new name. Frazzled and under stress, these two persevered yet again. In a matter of hours, they were able to determine their new logo and name. Behold, Barely Alive was born…just hours before “Killer in You” was to be released. How did they do it? I really have no idea, but they did and they did it well.

Like many of us, a career dilemma loomed ahead. Do we quit our day jobs and pursue our passion of producing music full-time? That’s always a tough position to be in. Even if you don’t want to be rich, it’s nice to have some financial stability. In order to do our absolute best work though (in whatever it is that we do), there will come a time when we have to choose between living comfortably and letting new opportunities pass us by or taking a risk and potentially losing all we’ve ever known. As scary as it might have been, they didn’t let fear consume them. They decided to quit their day jobs and pursue music full-time. They have never once regretted this decision. Fast-forward to the present where they’ve had five consecutive number 1’s on Beatport, releases on Disciple Recordings and Firepower Records, and just finished touring with Datsik on the Ninja Nation Tour. Do hard work and perseverance pay off? Absolutely.

Matt and Willie still have a long way to go, but they are figuring it out. They disagree about things all the time, which is actually why they work so well together. They never hold back from giving each other constructive feedback. This is ultimately what makes them better musicians. However, they do agree on at least one thing. They said, “We feel like it’s still too early in our lives to predict how we will leave our mark on the world. Our best answer is that we hope to some day inspire people in the same way we have felt inspired by other people throughout our lives.”

One lesson to be learned here is to “never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game” (a famous quote by the legend Babe Ruth). If you live in fear, then you won’t be living this life to the fullest. This life really is short so make the most of every moment and don’t be afraid to take a risk every once in awhile. Who knows, you may end up living your dream just like these two have done for the past few years.

Watch Aspire to Inspire Live featuring Barely Alive here: