Still Chasin’ Dreams – Part 1
I’m guessing it’s fairly common for people to shrink back from good intentions. And I imagine it’s even trickier when we’re talking about life aspirations and dreams. From what I’ve gathered over the years, I think it’s safe to say that the struggle between dreams and reality is ongoing for musicians. Or artists. Or athletes. Or parents. Or … pretty much everybody. It certainly has been for me.
If you happen to have a musician in your life, you probably know that we’re not necessarily musicians by choice – it’s a DNA thing. Our choice, if you will, is what to do with it. Enter the dream/reality struggle. Back in the day, just like most young musicians, I was dreamer chasing stars. But reality has the stronger hand and most often wins. And for good reason, I think. Reality has looked very favorably on me. My life has been full of love, and in my opinion that’s ultimately all that really matters. But at the same time, I’m a musician – and I’ve come to realize that dreams and reality can co-exist.
Musicians come in all sorts of flavors and, honestly, things didn’t really start coming clear for me until I realized what type of musician I am. I’ve always understood the reality that I’m a very average player and singer. I’m not a flamboyant performer. Meaning all of the traditional paths to musical success were not going to be open for me. But then I started writing songs and realized that I’m a singer/songwriter. It was like an epiphany. All I needed to do was grab some of the music and words rolling non-stop through my mind and make songs out of them! Easy. Or not. But at least that made sense to me.
But then the big question loomed – “what do you do with that?” That was a tough one, but was nothing compared to reality trying to deliver the knock-out punch by asking “do you think anyone actually cares?” I decided to ignore that one for as long as I could and focus on the first question – “what do you do with that?” – because that answer is relatively simple. You just write the songs. So, I did that. And am still doing that. And I’m thinking as long as the music and words continue rolling through my mind, that’s what I’ll do.
But eventually, you have to decide what you want to do with the songs. As I mentioned earlier, I’d long concluded that the traditional path of music success – get signed by a music label, make records, and tour – was not going to happen. And if it wasn’t going to happen when I was 25, it certainly wasn’t going to happen when I was 60. Or 65. So, I figured I’d just make a record with a handful of copies for friends and family and call it good. Then I joined a tremendously supportive group of musicians and I started a post titled: “Honest question – does anybody listen to music by old people (like me)?” It was a serious question. There are currently over 100 responses to that thread, all supportive. But one thing in particular has completely changed my point of view. Previously, the only path I knew to listenership was the “old school” model that I knew I couldn’t take. But today, there are audiences for literally everything. There are avid listeners of every genre, sub genre, and micro genre. My hope is that there are people that still like music influenced by the great musicians and songwriters that influenced me. And I hope that you’re one of them!
Thank you for embarking on this exciting voyage with me. In my next post I’ll talk about the song that started everything. It’s basically this struggle put to lyrics.
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