Do I even want a music career?
I admit, to even think that music could be a career for me is highly presumptuous.
However, yesterday evening, after a long day of walking and copious consumption of fizzy water, I was talking with the estimable Sara Currie, who was visiting the States for business from England, about that very notion: writing music for money. We had just listened to several tracks of mine from my upcoming (I promise!) album and the question arose: what's the plan?
I started to blather on about all kinds of stuff, when Sara stopped me and asked if I really wanted to take this thing I loved so much, songwriting, and turn it into something I did for money.
The short answer is no.
But let me back up for a second. We were talking specifically about what I might do with my music once I have the album ready. I went through my usual recitation about how my plan was to approach folks in charge of purchasing music for film and TV, as well as producer-types, who buy songs for performing artists to cover. Sara observed that because my songs had a lot of variety, I should be in good shape. I replied I wasn't so sure. People want FOCUS, they want to be able to count on songwriter A for country and songwriter B for pop and so on. A jack of all trades is almost always a master of none, and when you're investing in talent, you want a master, not alway, I know, but usually.
Then she asked if someone liked, say a country song of mine, would they ask me to "write 10 more like that" and would I want to. I looked out the window at the sailing ship being hit by rays of a setting sun and felt a wave of hopelessness. I recovered a bit to note that I would essentially be writing songs to a brief, just as I have done for years with ads. Then it really hit me: to write under contract would be to transform the songwriting process into the exact same process advertising requires, only I would finish with a song instead of an ad. That sealed it for me. No way, no how.
As the sun dried the last light from the day, I concluded that if music should ever become a career of mine - A HUGE IF -- it would have to be on the most idealistic of terms. Namely, I'd write the songs I want to write, not the songs some Hollywood-type wanted of me. Which means I'm still gonna have to work for a living.