The Process of Growth as a Songwriter

Well, I was talking to a good friend of mine this week about songwriting, producing, and being a member of Taxi. I talked about how much I've learned in the past 3.5 years of Taxi membership. I talked about how I cringe when I listen to the CD I made 3 years ago, how far I've come in my understanding of where the bar is and how far away from it I was at the beginning of this journey.

We talked about "instantness" & "fast food" mentality of society nowadays and how people expect that someone is going to come along and lift them out of obscurity and make something happen. I say this with the honest knowledge that I thought like that too.

Way back, 17 years ago, when I started taking voice lessons, I sincerely thought to myself, 'give me six months, they'll be down on their knees begging me to do concerts with them.' Well 6 months went by and I felt totally lost. Six years went by and I got a small glimmer of an idea about what the issues might be. Nine years went by (of two singing lessons a week + coaching) and I finally woke up to the fact that the armor I had grown to protect me as a child was still deeply programmed into my psyche and was still holding me back... that as I much as I wanted to sing/be a singer, I was not opening up. I spent all my life up to then hiding from people, avoiding social situations, stammering when I talked, terrified. It took me twelve years of training & practicing & working to be able to stand in front of an audience and sing without fear. Even today sometimes I'll come home from singing somewhere, and I'll think 'hey, I wasn't scared!' - I'm still surprised and grateful.

I joined Taxi 3.5 years ago with the same thinking - 'wait til they hear these songs, I'll have a deal within 6 months'. Ha haa. I used to get sooo mad when I got a return, I'd have to put it in a drawer for a couple of days before I could read the critique with any kind of acceptance. Slowly, through getting the critiques, and reading/posting on songwriting boards... I started to see a glimmer of what the issues might be. I started to realize that my membership in Taxi was one way I could get an education in songwriting. I take classes on-line and go to seminars and the Taxi music conference, and read the books... but getting specific feedback on my songs/music from the people screening for the industry is very valuable.

I try to write or produce something every day, because it is very very clear to me... that I sing better this week because I sang last week... and so ergo, it makes sense that if I write this week, I will write better next week because of that experience, because my muscles are toned, because I'm open to it, because I can consistently, with practice & good feedback, improve any skill. Deals or no deals, gigs or no gigs, I write, I sing, I produce, because that's what makes me feel alive.

If, anywhere along my singing or songwriting journey, I had given up on myself... I would not be who I am today. And I was reminded of the process of 'becoming' when one of my peers showed me his list of credits at the Taxi Road Rally. He only had 3 or 4 credits for each of the first 3 or 4 years of his Taxi membership... and then it took off, doubled & tripled as the years rolled on. I remarked that, if he had given up anytime in those first 3 years, he wouldn't be the success he is today....

I guess I'm trying to say... I don't expect Taxi, or a record label, or a music publisher, or a singing teacher, to do my job for me. Success is never instant. It comes about because you've doggedly put one foot in front of the other in the face of all the odds, because it means something to you to make that journey. It's the journey that is your process to becoming who you dream of being, doing what you dream of doing.

When a student stands in my studio and sings a note they never could sing before in a way they never dreamed they could... after we both wipe our eyes, I say... "you could never have found that, had you not been willing to take the journey, do the work, and trust that it was leading you somewhere."

1 comment:

Sanoittaja/Copywriter/Koivulahti said...

It is nice to read this kind of words. i a gree all those thing you say'd. It's so true.