I get an email or a Facebook message from an aspiring songwriter almost every day asking me how to make it in the music business…how to get a song cut…etc…My answer? There’s no exact formula. And If something DOES happen for you the circumstances are never the way you imagined. Still, there are a few things you might want to be aware of before jumping into the ring: I know it may sound bleak, but …stay with me…
1. The Numbers: Where there used to be only a handful of songwriters in one given neighborhood, now there are hundreds. There are at least 5 on my block alone. (Not really. But you know what I mean.)
2. The Sales Figures: Albums don’t sell the way they used to. So you’re going to have to aim for that illusive single. And that can be tricky....like winning a lottery.
3. The Digital Marketplace: It does not compensate a songwriter fairly.
4. Writer's Block: You’ll get it. It can paralyze you. Severe cases last up to 2 months. (Although, the good news is there have been no fatalities reported.)
5. The Competition: It’s a jungle out there. Dog eat dog, eye for an eye… Some call it The Wild West! You might want to invest in a bullet proof vest. Or a whistle. Or goggles. :)
6. The Odds: Listen to your mother. Why would you want to try to do something that’s so difficult to break into? There are so many less stressful ways to make a living.
And now… the pièce de résistance…The most important piece of advice of all:
FORGET EVERYTHING I JUST SAID
That’s right. I’m serious. Here’s why. It’s not that these warnings aren’t accurate. They are. But when you really want to do Something…Anything…(Pardon the Todd Rundgren reference)... if you believe in it strongly enough none of the above should matter. All the warnings in the world will not discourage or deter you. Oh you might hear them but they won’t resonate. You proceed with blinders on. If a song s*cks you write another. Somewhere inside you, you really believe you are the exception. And you must think that way.
However, if any of the warnings ring true and cause you to take a step back and have a second thought, you might very well want to consider heading in another direction. Because the land mines are there. You simply have to not care.
Indeed there are new realities. And I don’t want to negate them. But I’m a Gemini. There’s a flip side to everything.
And this is what it is: if you dream hard enough you WILL get there. Despite all the obstacles there’s a certain kind of magic the Universe grants you when you do. I know this is true. I’ve seen it.
Even on a day that I falter, I wake up the next morning and deflect reality. I don’t give it the time of day. It’s the way I choose to live my life. Always have.
Because sometimes there’s just no other way to explain a miracle other than: stars collide. Things happen peripherally. When you least expect them to. When you’re in the right place at the right time. And I'm gonna be there when they do. And so will you.