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. 

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