The Briefcase

a podcast by Benjamin Welch

Count - Dance with Somebody

My wife and I make music together in her band Count. About a week ago, we asked some friends to help us shoot a video on the streets of downtown LA.

If you watch that video, you’ll see us walk by a stranger on a bench and you’ll hear him propose to Gabbi as we go by. His name is Daryl.

We started talking with him for a little bit and like lots of older people, he was friendly and just had this look on his face that comes from living through a lot. Knowing way too much and still working to figure things out. As we were walking away and talking about how nice he was, we decided to perform a song for him.

The response to the video has been far beyond what we expected or imagined. But even as we were performing the song for him, we knew it was a moment. It felt special and intimate. It wasn’t a marketing stunt and it wasn’t planned. No fancy sound equipment, no lights, no fancy camera. We were just lucky that our friend Adam was there to film it.

There are two factors about this that I find really fascinating: authenticity & happenstance.

We couldn’t have planned this. And if we tried, people would have sensed it’s fakey grossness. People feel that it’s real and so they’re moved by it.

But it blows my mind to think that if Daryl wasn’t on that bench, if he didn’t have a sense of humor, if we weren’t late because I forgot something at the apartment and had to go back before we could shoot, this video wouldn’t have been made. And it wouldn’t have been seen by almost 100,000 people in 2 days.

It’s an important lesson when you’re someone that makes things. There are so many factors outside our control. It’s not your job to plan for moments like these and there’s not much you can do to “make” them happen. You just have to do your thing and keep doing your thing. That’s the only way you’ll end up on the streets of downtown, singing a song for the nice, old man that just proposed to your wife.