Now that I am in process of finishing my first album I wonder: “what have a been doing my whole life?” I should be on number 4 or 5 by now!
I have put it down to a few things:
Fear of failure
I went to college to study jazz. I was hopelessly unprepared. A few blues licks on the piano, some jamming to AC/DC on the guitar and a bag full of pop songs. No classical background, not even a good version of jingle bells. “Didn’t you do music at school?” No. I remember the day they took music out of the schools… I remember going to music class in grade 3 and on the way there we were told that music was cancelled. A sad day indeed. but that didn’t stop me tearing it up with my 15 watt marshall turned up full in the garage… unfortunately that’s not the stuff of which jazz degrees are made.
At music school there is the ever-present gloom of jaded jazz muzo’s at the back of the room cursing their fate for having to eek out a living teaching bozo’s with no training how to play in-tune. Every note is criticized. Thats of course what one wants from an institution, an opportunity to grow and learn from one’s mistakes. You are never good enough! If you don’t sound like John Coltrane you are not there yet. I think this experience has left me feeling that I don’t want to show the world my music until it’s 100% perfect. Until there are no bum notes, no b9 intervals muddying the arrangement, until I have a degree in classical piano, nothing but perfect tone, the right scales etc. And then even if I deemed the music ready, I was waiting till I had the right gear, or enough money to hire the london philharmonic or this or that blah blah…Bang that.
I’m done with that now.
Fear of audience reaction
I am an introvert. Although I have no problem going into a crowd of 200 people and getting on top of my unicycle naked, once the show is over I want to to go somewhere where I don’t have to talk to anyone. I think a lot of songwriters are the same. The art requires, silence, solitude and introspection. I find it very difficult to manage relationships with more than a couple of people at a time…not a very good marketing strategy. I like to have deep, personal relationships with a handful of people… not great for packing out venues. let’s face it the music business is in many ways a popularity contest ‘He who has the most ‘likes’ is the winner’
The fear of the response I will get from releasing my music is something that’s been holding me back. Scratch that. I’m through with that thinking. I would of course like to have 20 mil. copies sold in the first week a la Justin Timberlake…but maybe ill save that experience for the second album 😉
Getting over myself
This is my face… I couldn’t help but write that caption as I uploaded a huge close up of my strange-looking freckly mugg to google+
It’s a challenge not to take music personally…That’s my face on the photo, my voice singing over chords my hands are playing, It’s my name on the url. etc…
The biggest relief comes from the realization that the music I write is not mine, I am simply charged with the duty to bring into the world. I’m more like a project manager. The music writes itself, my job is only to put the ribbon on.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – KAHLIL GIBRAN
The goal is not to have a million likes on facebook to prove to myself how cool I am. The goal is to fulfill the promise to myself of putting everything I got into music and then give it away. And I think $12 for an album is a great give-away! 🙂
My promise to you
My promise to you is that my album will not be perfect…there will be notes that don’t sound so kosher, there will be mistakes in the arrangement and there will be words written that could’ve had a better rhyme and solos that good be more in the style of (insert your favorite burning, hip, jazz cat here) and my promise is also that it will be better for the audience this way. Because you will get to hear it!
The time is drawing near…just need to get some bucks for that orchestra…