I’m in the process of building a new resource for musicians who are ambitious, creative, and passionate, but who recognize that their best musical contributions are contingent on developing a healthy, balanced, responsible approach to their music career. In other words, musicians make good music when they stay alive, and when they stay musicians. So, I want to work together with other musicians to keep more of us alive and making music.
I’m going to share with you guys a major pet-peeve of mine in the songwriting world. Here is the basic structure of the annoyance: Roger Rockstar begins a music career. Roger posts all over social media and proves that he is an ambitious “in-it-to-win-it super serious musician”. Mr. Rockstar talks about chasing his dreams, craves international fame and glory. Roger achieves a small corner of that goal, gets picked up by a good management company or label, and gets sent on tour. The following year Roger Rockstar releases a new record, and it is chalked full of songs of him whining and complaining about how hard it is on the road and how much he misses home.
The satisfaction of getting your music heard is easier and more accessible than ever. Labels used to be the only avenue for mass distribution. One reason why so many musicians are broke is because they are shooting for mass distribution without a label, and that takes an office of people who light up cigars rolled in 100-dollar bills and laugh villainous laughs at you crazy hard-working types. So, maybe don’t think about mass distribution. Maybe think about how you can get 100 people in your town to come out for a show. Maybe think about how you can use live streaming to be a part of people’s weekly lives in a meaningful way. Maybe work on the craft of writing songs that folks will keep coming back to when they need those sounds and lyrics to speak to them again. This industry is filled with people who are suggesting last century industry strategies in a new century market.
It would be easy to just assume that my career should follow the path template that is provided by the apparent successful in my industry. But I think that blind following of another person’s path is what leads some of us to achieve all of the markers of success, only to find ourselves depressed and empty inside.
Imagine for a moment that you are the owner of a lucrative retail business and you are hiring a new CFO to manage the financial accounting of your company for the next decade or beyond. You invite a new young gentleman into your office and sit him in front of your desk. You have heard hype about this new business climber from many of your gazillionaire colleagues. You hear he has great personality and he really knows how to dress right. You pull this new prospect’s resume’ and give it a glance. You notice that he credits himself with three Chapter Eleven Bankruptcies for past companies that he has managed. Do you look him in the eye and say to him, “Man, you must really know your stuff with all of these failures on your business record! And you certainly have the image we are looking for. When can you start? We would really like to give you a chance at taking our company to the next level!” Would you respond in that way?
I write this post as a huge thank you to all who were involved in the process of recording these five songs. The collaboration is part of the reward for me, and it is a spiritual reward. I am better because of the contributions of these other creative masters.
Despite all of this, I used to love being on social media, and I spent countless hours building myself up on Facebook and Twitter. Circumstances caused me to move away from Smart Phones into more basic stuff. And as I’ve done that, I’ve honestly enjoyed the direction of my life. When I go to restaurants, airports, or peruse the sidewalks of my small town, I become grateful that I’m not one of the Walking Dead who are buried in their Instagram feed. I enjoy the fact that, when I go to see some beautiful morsel of creation, that I don’t get distracted by snapping a quick selfie and seeing how fast I get to 50 likes on my post. I can be in the moment. I like that.
I will be returning to the studio in May in order to record five brand new songs!
These songs will be released one by one into streaming sources such as Spotify. They will combine to form a second album, EP. Once all the songs are released to streaming, I will look to produce the songs into a CD or vinyl form also for all of you collectors!
I’m grateful to report that, this month, I celebrate five years of being married to my wonderful wife, Emily. I say “grateful” rather than “proud” because, God knows, I don’t know that I had much to do with it! I mean, I showed up at the ceremony. I guess that’s worth something.
Here we are, in the twelfth month of a twelve month year. That means 2017 is over my friends. Did you make it a good one? I suppose a lot of bands blog with some …