Optimist Case Study

VIDEO: Shakey Graves & The Moment When Perspective Changes Everything

The Texas Optimism project interviews Alejandro Rose-Garcia, musician under the name Shakey Graves, on the magic of an existential crisis.

Alejandro Rose-Garcia, also known as Shakey Graves, grew up surrounded by a community of artists, musicians, dancers, and—as he likes to call them— “magic beans people.” From an early age, they taught him the importance of following your dreams no matter where they take you. And, as he recently described to the Texas Optimism Project, those journeys can be weird, magical, and life-changing.

This is the part in every story where you have to believe something magical is happening.

In an interview with the Texas Optimism Project, a sponsored series between Texas Monthly and Frost Bank’s Opt for Optimism initiative, Rose-Garcia spoke about how, after a few pivotal events, he embarked on a cross-country move that sparked an existential crisis that would forever change the course of his life. Shortly after settling into his new home in Los Angeles, Rose-Garcia describes an unexplainable encounter with a booming voice that asked him, “What do you want to do before you die?” Confused by the strange experience, he embraced the near-death vision as a “creative booster shot” that would open his eyes to a new outlook on life. The change in perspective took an optimistic view of existentialism and was the catalyst for the music he would create under the name Shakey Graves.

Illustrations and animation by Tessa Chong and Lee Arkapaw. 

Similar Stories

One Good Thing: Sweet P’tate

To say it’s been a hard year is a vast understatement. Columnist Owen Egerton reflects on the many hardships of 2020 and how we can move forward into the new year, finding optimism in our choice to grow rather than give up.

GALLERY: Finding Forever Homes A Plane Ride Away

Meet some of the adorable dogs and cats up for adoption at Austin Pets Alive!, along with the shelter’s incredible staff and Dog Is My Copilot, an animal transport nonprofit that is changing the lives of thousands of animals across Texas and the rest of the country.

One Good Thing: Beyond the Vote

November 3rd has come and gone—but life carries on. Columnist Owen Egerton reflects on the 2020 election and how, after we take the time to recover from the work we’ve put in as a nation to make this election possible, we can all continue to strengthen our civic engagement.