Against my better judgment I answered a post on Craigslist last week from a female singer. To cut a long story short, it very quickly became obvious that she was a flake, a time waster; she’d been in Nashville for three years, (she’d moved from Louisiana to pursue her singing career, which was a good sign) but she had had no professional photographs taken, no identity as an artist, and only one demo song (she sounded ‘exactly’ like Jewel, even CJ commented on that) and then lied. What’s the saying, be careful what you wish for? If someone shows an interest you should be knocking down their door – you only get out of something what you put in.
You are more than likely a dreamer if you’re in entertainment as a performer, be it a musician, singer, actor, and have aspirations, and that’s how it should be, but you have to have drive and hunger and be realistic and professional. Don’t play at it, don’t waste people’s time, or your own, keep putting people in awkward positions, people who feel they can’t say no to you, and keep going on about it for years without doing it, and I’m speaking from my own experience, no-one else’s.
There’s another saying, “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it”. We are solely responsible for decisions and choices we have made, and make. Life is a journey, a road, and we reach crossroads, perhaps one way clearly signed, but for the other road the signpost has been stolen, so destination unknown. Most of us take the safe road, where lives are mapped out and directions are clear. Sometimes we ignore warning signs, “Don’t do that!” and then we pay the consequences, and/or accept them.
When we’re young our whole lives stretch out in front of us. I look at my children and see their dreams and aspirations and see them strive to make them come true, which they are, but that’s because they have actually done something about them and not just talked about them, sat around waiting for someone to hand them their dream on a silver platter. Taylor has found his niche now with work and is so good at it, a natural. Courtney took a chance, moving four thousand miles by herself to take up an unpaid internship, which has now turned into a full time, well paid position with a small team who are probably the most successful PR firm in Nashville at the moment, working with the top artists. Bailey in the meantime is still finding his direction, finding himself! He is only fourteen though, an exciting time in life, I hope he chooses his path wisely, takes chances, believes in himself.
It’s the people with a vision, backed by that drive, who succeed; people with self belief, and of course talent, in whatever profession they choose. Talent will out in the end, always.
I remember the first time someone said to me, “I’m going away for the weekend, I need to find myself.” I flippantly remarked, “Why, when did you go missing?” She took this question seriously though and answered, “Sometime in the last ten years.”
As we get older do we lose sight of who we are or is it that we change as we grow older, go through experiences and come out someone totally different? Women I think change more than men, they must do, having children must totally change how you look at yourself, your body; men will never, ever understand this. Girls grow up, mature, much quicker than boys – they deal with puberty much better, they have to I guess, it’s as simple as that. I’m not sure boys could actually deal with the things teenage girls have to go through.
When we reach a certain age though we start to examine who we are, who we’ve become. Have we lost our own identity? You’re someone’s father/mother now, or someone’s husband/wife – what happened to you?!?
So, many people try to recapture their youth. Yes, it is the mid-life crisis! Mainly it is men who go through it. I wonder if losing their mother has anything to do with having this crisis? Men deny having had a mid-life crisis, I haven’t, but many do – they buy the Harley (don’t they Tim? lol), or have a ridiculous African Tribal fertility tattoo of a snake put right across their (very) lower stomach! It’s not just men though; I remember a woman leaving her husband of fifteen years, cutting off her long brown hair into a short white, peroxide crew cut, and running off to Italy with another man on his Harley – only for it to break down two days in and she had to ring her husband to pick her up – which I think he refused to do! Good on him.
I’ve said before that I honestly don’t feel any different today then I did when I was fifteen. Now, I’m not sure this is a good thing though. I have as much energy, drive and ambition as I did then, and I tell my body that it’s not really tired after a late night or one too many bottles of wine (eh CJ?), it just thinks it is, (or that it should be after all these years).
There’s a song of mine on The Rodeo e.p. (available July 4) called ‘Do You Remember Us’, which has the lines “Real life got in the way, and we got lost along the way”. We can and do get lost and sometimes we try to reconnect with ourselves.
I’ve done this myself recently by rediscovering certain albums that inspired me as a kid to become a songwriter; classic albums – Bolan, Bowie, Dylan, Springsteen, Young, Zeppelin, The Stones and The Kinks. It struck me that the days of such classic works, classic albums, have long been over. Now it’s all mainly singles and downloading favourite tracks.
Creating an album was and is a painstaking, tooth pulling, experience; which track should open the album or close it? Every track had to compliment the one before or after, or be completely different to change the mood totally.
What was the last truly classic album? Where are the Pet Sounds, or Sgt. Peppers, or even Nevermind or Definitely Maybe. Has there been an album in the last ten years, five years, that will inspire songwriters and bands of tomorrow? There have been many accomplished albums for sure, Bruno Mars’ album comes to mind, a wonderful talent, and there have been some incredible tracks of course, but albums………?
The revival of vinyl has been continuing but as a music fan I have to admit, I don’t care what I listen to my music on – I have a windup gramophone for my 78’s (yes kids), a 60’s record player for the singles, a record deck, a cassette player, CD’s of course and my iPod, but for me it’s all about the music but there was something about an album cover, reading the notes and lyrics but you can still download all of that now.
I remember my friend Jim in Santa Barbara; he was an Elton fanatic and must have had at least fifteen versions of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – yellow vinyl, Japanese version and so on. The internet has changed everything of course, but I think it can be for the better, certainly for the artist.
There’s no A & R guy telling you your track needs more strings or a electric guitar, or needs to be 10 beats faster. Creative control is now totally in the artist’s own hands. Through the internet, from a bedroom in say Cardiff, or Hamburg, or Oslo, or Mount Juliet artist’s can reach the world with their music, with their films, with their art and photography and I think it’s very exciting and will hopefully lead the way to a new generation of talent that don’t need television talent shows to make it, as long as they have the belief, the drive and the hunger to succeed. In many ways I think this is what is lacking, that drive and hunger, many want it all too easily, by appearing on the Voice or whatever, and don;t get me wrong, some of the singers on that are very good indeed, and we’ve always had talent shows but nowadays, with pubs for example in the UK closing at the rate of twelve a week, there are fewer and fewer places to play, especially with original music, so hopefully again the internet holds the key to the answer and we’ll have some new classic albums.