Meeting famous rockstar changes life

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A young Will Ledyard meets Donovan Phillips Leitch. Photo courtesy of Will Ledyard ’22.

Inspiration can be found in some of the most surprising and random places. It’s crazy how one experience from your past can impact the rest of your life without you even realizing it at first. I experienced this phenomenon when I was a little kid, and the impact has stayed with me to this day.

About eight or nine years ago, my family (older brother and both parents) had the privilege of going to a resort in Jamaica for about a week or so. During our time there, we met one of my dad’s childhood idols, 1960s rockstar Donovan Phillips Leitch, or just Donovan (his stage name). We found out that he and his wife, Linda Lawrence, were staying in the cottage next to ours, so they would come and hang out by the pool with our family.

Donovan gave us a live performance of his most famous song “Season of the Witch.” As a young, immature boy would do when a man in his mid-60s starts singing a song full a capella, I started uncontrollably laughing. As I was 8 or 9 years old at the time, I didn’t fully realize how rude I was being, but I also didn’t realize how rare that experience was. I was too young to fully capture and respect what was actually happening.

As I grew older, I started to listen to Donovan’s music a bit more and finally gained the respect for him that he deserves. Because of his many catchy and well-made guitar riffs throughout his songs, I wanted to recreate that ability to produce a sound just as beautiful.

Because of this, I picked up the guitar and took lessons for about six months. I have been playing guitar ever since, and I can only thank the one and only Donovan. Not only guitar, but music in general has been a huge part of my life ever since I got invested in it. Some of my fondest memories are going to see live music, or even just jamming out for hours at a time on the guitar.

The biggest thing I take away from meeting this legend, thinking back on it now, is that it is amazing how big of an impact just one experience can make in a person’s life. During my time with Donovan, I had no idea that that experience of just meeting someone would eventually be the root of inspiration for me to pick up a guitar. 

Inspiration can come in many forms and during unexpected moments throughout the course of your life. Don’t take from granted the experiences you have with others, as they may just impact your life at a future date. The connections I have made with the people that surround me are some of the things I hold closest to my heart, and I can only hope that these connections give me some sort of inspiration in the future.