Nashville: Because the World Needs Happy Beasts.
I’d like to clear something up for all of those rooting for me out there. Because I know that your advice is genuine and I appreciate it. Truly and deeply. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) But, I think you might be misguided. So, please, let me clarify…
People keep telling me (unprompted) not to get discouraged by all of the talent in Nashville and that not everyone “makes it.” Thanks for the advice, y’all, but your perception of Nashville through my eyes could not be farther from the truth — I am FAR from discouraged! In fact, it’s the opposite — I feel INCREDIBLY ENCOURAGED!
I now live in a town where it’s more unusual to meet someone who is not tied to the music industry. It seems like everyone here has a little, artsy beast inside of them, hungry for more than their hometown can provide. They’re all in Nashville, searching for that musical sustenance! And if a person is not in the music industry, his girlfriend is. Or maybe his uncle. But NO ONE can escape it! This is a town where even the most formal Christian denominations have a service with guitars and a drum kit. A town that expects people to have more than one job, whether it’s bar tending and singing, or publishing and real estate. What this means is that no matter where I go, and no matter what I’m doing, I get to talk about, and participate in, the thing that drives me most — MUSIC! I guess I see it like living in the dorms in college — everyone complained about them, but I saw the dorms as an entire building full of people my age with AT LEAST one major thing in common…. therefore, how could it not be fun?! (and it WAS fun! maybe too much fun… 😉 )
Now let’s address that other thing. The idea of “making it.” I’ve had this discussion with a lot of musician friends and most of us seem to believe, as my friend Mac Leaphart so simply stated (as we stood in our matching t-shirts awaiting generic white plates of ordered food to serve our patrons), “it’s relative.”
My personal definition:
MAKING IT = Singing and performing my own songs to an appreciative audience.
Ideally, this would be how I make a living (which becomes the sticky part), but as long as I never have to stop writing and performing, I believe that I will be fulfilled. It’s that simple! To me, the music industry casualties are not the 60 year-olds flipping burgers and gigging every Saturday. It’s the “successful” banker, or the insurance salesman who hates her job and no longer takes the time to sit down with a pen and paper, nor her guitar. Of course, what I’m really projecting here is happiness. I am absolutely not declaring War on the White Collars! Especially since most people have more than one life-objective (I, for example, also want to be a mom), which means juggling will be required. But, I think, no matter what path a musician chooses, it’s his/her obligation to keep the inner-beast fed.
And that’s why I am encouraged by this town! Nashville has an endless feast of opportunity that I feel will always offer me ways to stay satisfied. So, I am PUMPED on my new residence! Eat your heart out, you happy beasts!