hard work

Gas in the Tank

Well, I can say this: I’m always busy. Whether I’m sending emails to venues, producers, musicians, blogs, radio stations, magazines, websites, playlist curators, songwriters, or the like; whether I’m writing songs, which, according to industry folk, I should be doing at least five times a week; whether I’m playing my old tunes and finding new ways to play the same song or even developing a song that hasn’t reached its potential, music is a constant. But, that’s what I asked for, isn’t it?

I won’t claim that I came into this life thinking it would be easy. If anything, the countless sighs of concern from friends and loved ones, when I told them I’d be doing music full-time after four years of engineering, were enough to put an ominous overtone of the next few years of my life. “Well, it’s a tough place to get noticed,” or, “Well, at least you’ve got a good back-up,” were what usually followed. Sure, I’d shake off the doubt and ask myself the question I’ve asked a million times, “Is this what you really want to do?” to which my heart’s reply was inevitably, “Of course.” But, that’s not the tough question: the harder one to answer is, “Why?” or, more specifically, “What makes you so special?”

I think there’s a sort of innate faith in oneself that has to be burned into his head if he hopes to do something as unstable and unknown as music – a certain confidence that what he’s doing is right, whether strangers believe it or not. Because, well, if you’re not your biggest fan, who else will be? Who else is going to get you through the unavoidable lows that come with rejection? Who else is going to be constantly filling your gas tank when you feel like this might be the end of the journey? You’ve got mom and dad through the phone, friends in a stable job, God, religion – whatever your anchor is – but at some point, it simply comes down to you. You have to have faith.

And, like I said, I won’t claim that I came to Nashville thinking I’d be swept off my feet by a record label or a publishing house the second I got here, but that faith in my music, my lyrics, my talent – all things given to me by the Lord above – persuaded me into thinking that, you know, maybe it’ll be easier for me. Surely, the people out here don’t have what I have – and maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but nothing is given in this world but the drinks at a bar, being bought by someone who wants to shake hands and add you to a contact list.

Nothing is given, but success can absolutely be earned – and half the battle is figuring out how to earn it. And, sure, I’m painting in broad strokes: there are people who have come into my life recently – you know who you are – who’s generosity, friendliness, and sincerity in this strange city have been invaluable. But, at the end of the day, it comes down to you, what you do for yourself, and how hard you’re willing to work. Handouts – if they ever were a thing – certainly are in the past, so now, more than ever, its up to me to fill my tank with gas.