Local Current Blog

Eric Mayson moving to Mankato to attend flight school

Eric Mayson performs at Tattersall Distilling on July 11, 2019. (Jay Gabler/MPR)

It’s an understatement to say it’s been an eventful first half of 2019 for the multifaceted Minneapolis musician Eric Mayson. In just a few months, Mayson released his newest albums, Op-Nope and It’s All Real It’s All Fake, worked on a play and a dance piece, quit smoking, and got hitched. Up next for Mayson is…flight school?

“When I made that decision [to pursue piloting], it was like all of the barriers that I’ve had for writing…just sort of disintegrated and songs started just flowing out of me,” Mayson told The Current’s Jill Riley and Brian Oake in an on-air interview before performing last Thursday at Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis.

The career switch is not random or sudden: when he was living with his mother in South Carolina as a child, his fascination with airplanes was kickstarted. Now that he has his Class 1 medical certificate — required of all airline transport pilots — Mayson will be attending flight school in Mankato.

Mayson aspires to be one of those pilots flying a small aircraft into remote areas, inspired by his childhood memory of a family trip to Alaska where he saw a bush pilot landing demonstration on “like three feet of runway.”

“In a couple years, hopefully I’ll be flying commercial,” Mayson said. “Then a couple years after that, maybe 10 or 15, hopefully [I’ll be] a bush pilot flying around in Alaska somewhere or up in the Boundary Waters or something rugged like that.”

Though he’ll be busy becoming a pilot, Mayson says that doesn’t mean he’s going to stop making music. However, his goal is to separate his music from money, even though freelancing has allowed him to tour the world and collaborate with musicians like Lizzo and Caroline Smith.

“I got a bunch of stuff under my belt,” Mayson said. “But, I can feel it starting to wear on me, and I’m ready to keep it personal. Just bring it back home to the privacy and intimacy of a non-commodified space.”