CAUTION: COARSE LANGUAGE (SWEARING) in video/song. Viewer discretion/parental guidance advised.
CAMPAIGN LINK: https://www.gofundme.com/get-mage-through-until-payday
SOUNDCLOUD MIX (better sound quality): https://soundcloud.com/madmetalmage/underpaid
Today, Friday January 19, 2018, I just got paid from my full-time music teaching job. I had a rough time during the December holidays since many of my students cancelled their lessons due to going out of town and doing holiday things. This left me with a very little paycheck, and my paycheck is normally small to begin with.
My name is Linda Marie Lockwood. Artistically I am known as Mage, \m/ Mage \m/, or Mad Metal Mage. I am a Canadian citizen who has been living in the US for over three years. Music has always been my passion, and I love people too. This is why being a music teacher is such a fitting job for me. You may ask me, “Why don’t you just get a non-music job that pays more?” My response: “Been there, done that.” I used to work computer tech support jobs for many years. That is how I put myself through university when I got my first music degree. It burned me out. In addition I am not allowed to take non-music jobs at this time (read on for further details).
Yes I am highly educated with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician certificate, and a Master of Fine Arts in Performance and Composition. However, because my US work permit is limited to music jobs only I am unable to take on computer tech jobs that pay more. Plus I wouldn’t want to anyway…as I mentioned those jobs burned me out, and I am done with that part of my life.
You may ask me, “Why don’t you go back to Canada?” My answer: “It is cold, and I have seasonal affective disorder.” I hate the rain and snow. Plus I have no friends there. Why would I want to go backwards? I love it here in SoCal!
I have worked so hard to maintain my LEGAL presence here in the US and become the artist and educator that I have always wanted to be. I teach 50 students per week, and I drive almost 200 miles a day 5 days a week to teach a range of learners from age 5 to 75. I try my best to write my music and play in bands, but because my job pays me so little, I have to work so much. I used to work 6 days a week, but then I had NO time to make music, so I have changed it to 5 days a week…thankfully all my Thursday students filled up my Wednesday to make it an extra long teaching day! That’s good because I live so far away (I cannot afford to live in the wealthier areas and need to live somewhat isolated so that I can make my music at any time, and it gets loud).
I am currently seeking other music and music teaching jobs that pay higher. Please if anyone knows any leads send them my way…also if you know any students who are interested in studying guitar, electric bass, vocals, piano, songwriting, or home recording let them know that I can help!
You may wonder HOW I could get so short on money…well let me explain something: I actually just recently received my official full-time medical benefits which cost a LOT on my paycheck, plus as I mentioned above the large amount of students cancelling their lessons during the month of December significantly lowered my paycheck too. I got only $1000 for the holiday 2-week paycheck. And just today I got $1200. My rent is $800 which I was forced to pay today since it is due at the end of the month, and my next paycheck is not until February 2nd which would be late if I was to pay the rent then, and I don’t want that since I love my house and don’t want a bad mark on my credit with my landlord.
In addition on December 24 my car would not start…I had to pay $74 to a tow truck since my roadside assistance plan expired (due to me driving so much that my car warranty itself expired), and I lost 2 hours of pay that day. Merry Xmas to me haha…the car mechanics I go to say that I need to get a new battery and new tires for my car, but that would cost me $385 total (and that’s a bundle deal), and I simply can’t afford that right now. A couple of weeks back when we had those heavy rainfalls, my car almost fell off the freeway as it hydroplaned due to my tires having such worn tread on them.
My current bills include the following:
- $114.06 for gas, due January 29
- $69.30 for garbage, due January 31
- $213.05 for car insurance, due January 28
- $50.70 for electricity, due January 29
- $197.88 for my cell phone which is already past due, 2 months of service, and if I don’t pay it by January 22 it will probably get cut off…I am going to try to arrange this with the provider
I am looking into food stamps and food banks too, but likely my options will be limited due to my not being a US citizen.
I currently I have $415.13 in my bank account, and tomorrow I will receive a deposit of $104.95 from a Canadian government check (f**k yeah!), but even if I add those amounts up ($520.18) and subtract all of my bills from that I will end up with a NEGATIVE number (-$124.81) and won’t be able to pay for food or gas until my next payday which is not until February 2nd. For this reason I am asking for only $300 which would help me get by with food and gas for the next 2 weeks and pay for the rest of the bills that my current funds cannot cover. I will still continue to look into food banks and other assistance programs as well as see if I can arrange later payments with my utilities.
***Update Jan. 22nd: I now have less than $350 in my bank account because I had to buy some food as well as CAT FOOD (yes I have a CAT, and her name is Mango). I also reluctantly had to buy cat litter because I have been delaying the litter change for too long…it’s important that I change the litter once a month in order for it to not be smelly and gross for my cat…not to mention a health hazard for both of us. I am waiting for the store I bought the litter at to give me a refund because they made a mistake and charged me twice for it…they said the refund may be issued as late as tomorrow since I bought the litter on a Sunday which is considered a non-business day by the banks.***
I am doing my best always working hard even when I am not paid enough. I made a song that I thought you might enjoy watching in a lyric video format. I’m sorry if the mix is off…I thought I would make the song quickly so that I can get on with contacting those utility companies regarding payment arrangements…plus I still have to practice! CAUTION: COARSE LANGUAGE (SWEARING) in video/song.
I want to emphasize again that I LOVE MY JOB. I really truly enjoy teaching music to people of all ages. I just wish I could somehow make enough so that I could at least have some emergency savings in my bank account and so that I could have time to work on my music. That way I don’t have to panic so much every time I near the end of a pay period with almost zero dollars in my bank account. I hate the nervousness I get when not knowing if $10 worth of gas is going to get me home or not. And the song I wrote mentions a bunch of things that I may not actually do in real life, but the feeling and temptations are REAL. I am a good teacher, and students can easily find me. I have not been teaching in a self-employed for a while since I thought that my full-time teaching employment position at a studio would be enough to make ends meet, but clearly after several months of doing this post-graduation from my master’s degree, I am not earning enough, so I must find other avenues. And I would really like to finally make an album one day. For as long as I can remember this has been a goal since I was a child. Sadly time and money have been my enemies for many years. I realize that the onus is on me, so I will continue seeking additional income opportunities while fulfilling my current full-time teaching job that is 70 miles away and 94 miles away respectively (I work at two different studios).
Thanks so much for any help you can give me be it monetary or an opportunity!
VIDEO (again CAUTION: COARSE LANGUAGE (SWEARING) in video/song):