Thursday, June 23, 2011

On Doing "It"

Again, speaking with my biz partner (who henceforth will be known by his NPR name, Stenven Rheinsberg) after an event, (this an intimate gathering hosted by Sō Percussion with Tristan Perich's glorious and sonically brilliant number for crotales and electronics (Observations), Daniel Wohl's graceful and lyrical St. Arc — I heard Bach Cello Suites infused with Webern — played by the darling Ashley Bathgate, and Sō Percussion's thumping Extremes, which only renewed my commitment to incorporate drumline elements into my own songwriting) we were talking about the generous composer commentary on my previous blog post, especially Matt Marks's brutal but liberating philosophy.

I always thought that songwriters, composers, and professional musicians were so because they were either born with marks on their foreheads or because, at some point between the ages of 6 and 16, someone had emphatically dubbed them so. And since neither seemed to be the case with me, I subconsciously surmised around the age of 17 that I was not one of them and that my only option, as a music lover, was to teach music.

But in past months, as I've made the decision to take my music-making seriously, I have discovered a miraculous truth: there is no mark or naming — songwriters are self-appointed. They take their own ideas seriously. And the real dividing line, the absolutely critical distinction between those who are songwriters/composers/performers and those who are not is this:

Those Who Are Doing It / Those Who Are Not

(Just like high school. (Nevermind.))

Because, if you are doing it then you are taking it seriously.  You may be overwhelmed but you are getting your questions answered. You are racing, and pacing, and plotting the course, fighting, and biting, and riding on your horse. You are setting up whatever lessons, performances, networks, framework, studio space, funds necessary in order to make the music you want to be making at the highest caliber possible/necessary to succeed. Maybe that means studying composition formally, maybe that means vocal coaching, maybe that means moving, maybe that means finding people who've put out a successful album and asking them how they fundraised, found a producer, dealt with the brass, etc.

And the amazing thing is, now that I have appointed myself a songwriter/performer, friends, acquaintances, critics, and fellow performers seem quick and happy to call me that as well.



  1. Great thoughts and comments. Love the idea/concept of 'those whoare doin it/ those who are not." That could explain a lot of things in my life. Thank you for the inspiration you beautiful beautiful lady!