I was getting ready for bed and remembered committing to a blog entry every Monday night. I have nothing in mind, so let’s see where this leads.
What makes people successful in any kind of entertainment field? Skill? Sure, it’s a factor. Charisma? Of course. Connections? Always helpful. But in many ways, I think it boils down to this.
You have to have something people are willing to pay for.
If you’re an actor, it could be your acting skill, your charisma, or a mixture of both. In sports - and yes, pro sports are entertainment - you have to be good enough at your position to get someone to want to pay you to play.
With music - what? Like I know?
Ok, ok. Fine. Same rule applies. You have to have a voice, chops, or songs (looks and charisma help) an audience is willing to buy. Those who appeal to a large enough audience get to make a living. The rest of us putter around somewhere in hobby land.
By the way, I really *hate* thinking about my music as a “hobby.” It somehow demeans what I do in my mind, but truth be told, it ain’t like I’m making a living with it. Yet, I still hope.
Songwriters often take the approach of copying successful songs. There are formulas out there for writing hit songs. I’ve never been interested in copying others; at least not beyond the occasional cover song or as a way of learning what makes songs work. That’s different from aping or copying someone else. One could argue that doing so successfully while still maintaining some originality is a legitimate art. It may be. But I’m interested in self expression. Talking about what moves me or what I consider important, and playing in the hope that what I do will move others the way my favorites affect me. Yes, I’ve wanted to make a living a this for as long as I can remember, but not at the expense of how I want to do it.
In some ways, it makes me remarkably stupid. In others, it gives me integrity, I guess. No matter what, it’s my choice to make, and I’ve made it. I continue to make it, for better, worse, or somewhere in between.
Maybe someday I’ll be at peace with it.
That’s it for now. Be good.