SXSW If you ever wanted to overdose on Hip Hop, SXSW 2013 is surely the place…
- Posted on Jul 20th 2011 3:00PM by Richard Trapunski
Originally, the Halifax-born rapper and CBC Radio 2 DJ (born Rich Terfry) had his sights set on major league baseball. And it wasn't just a pipe dream. At the age of 16, Terfry was scouted by the New York Yankees.
"This may sound cocky, but I truly believe that if I hadn't had my shoulder injury I would absolutely not only be playing in the Majors today but I would be a star player," Terfry tells Spinner. "Without a doubt."
He still plays as a hobby, but a nagging shoulder injury has prevented him from doing it professionally. A long-spanning, critically-acclaimed music career is a pretty good consolation prize, but Terfry admits it hasn't fulfilled him in the way a baseball career would have.
"Even though my life has been amazing and probably, to be honest, more interesting than it would have been if I had have been a professional athlete, I still yearn for it," he admits. "I just pile it all up around my life, everything from cards to obsessively following stats and reading blogs every day."
Making matters even more excruciating, Terfry's rival prospect in the Yankees system was none other than shortstop Derek Jeter. Now 37 years old (two years younger than Terfry), Jeter is a perennial All-Star, the face of the franchise, a bona fide celebrity and, some would argue, one of the best players of his generation.
"It kills me, to be honest. I'll watch him play and know that I should be on the same timeline. I'd actually be getting to the point where I should be almost retired by now."
But Terfry doesn't see any end in sight for his music career. That he's managed to make it work for so two decades (and more than fifteen albums, his latest, '20 Odd Years,' released earlier this year) is a major feat, but it's more a testament to hard work than raw ability.
"I love what I do and it's hard to complain, but music has always been a lot of really hard work for me," says Terfry. "I don't feel like I have, ever have had, ever will have any kind of natural talent for it. But baseball's always come really easy to me. If I was more of a religious person, I'd probably be telling myself that's what I was put on this earth to do."
Ironically, Terfry credits much of his longevity in the music business to his baseball training.
"The thing that I've done in my life with the most confidence is play baseball. When you're really confident doing something, you're at ease and you're relaxed. And that's what I need to be able to perform really well, not just on stage but in a studio as well. So sometimes I find myself almost channeling that a little bit, like how can I tap into where I go when I'm playing baseball."
Though he admits most of his talent for the game was inherent rather than learned, Terfry credits Red Sox great Ted Williams and his 1970 book, 'The Science of Hitting,' for showing him how to harness the power of psychology, both for baseball and music.
"He always taught that before you go up to hit, you have to look your pitcher in the eye and convince yourself that there's no possible way he can beat you. And then once you go up there you already have half the battle won.
"It's the same for playing a show. I need to rise to the occasion in the moments where it counts the most, where the proverbial game is on the line. And so the bigger the show, the more I can feel the pressure, the better I tend to perform."