Friday, November 3, 2023

Just Some Guy Who Will Die Eventually...Who Likes Trying To Write Songs

Someday, I won't be alive anymore.  The bleak thought of the grim reaper coming for us creeps in from time to time, so why not write about it to my non-existent readers?  It's what you do when you have your own blog.  You do it because you can.  Just like you write and record songs because you can, releasing them to non-existent fans of your music.  There's always the possibility readers and fans will materialize, and if not while you're alive, maybe after death.  Hope.

I will be remembered by a few close family and friends, some of whom knew I liked to write and record songs....and then write about writing and recording once in a while. Beyond them, there are some other people out there in the world who became aware of my music somehow, listened to it, and actually liked it. I can't tell you how much this pleases me. Maybe my music will still be findable for a while after I'm not around anymore, and I like knowing that. Some of it I am proud of, and until that day comes as it does for us all, I will have had a really fun creative hobby I'm thankful for.
You think about these kinds of things occasionally when you're an aging pretend solo artist.  Aside from that, some of those people may have also discovered I had the boldness to create and maintain a web site about myself as a solo artist, and further, a personal blog I wrote about my hobby. These probably won't be around long after my demise, and eventually, only a few scraps of information about me will remain.
A guy with a bad singing voice who could barely strum some basic chords on a guitar wrote what he thought were pretty good songs, recorded them, and then released them as albums every couple years for a couple decades. Bold is probably the best word to describe all of this, and I've been bold during a time when changes to the music industry made it possible - inexpensive home recording equipment, the internet, aggregator distributors, streaming tech, etc.  

I haven't been fearless, but I faced the fear and released the music anyway...consistently.  Bold might be another way of saying things like: doesn't know when to give up, confident without a reason to be, blissfully ignorant of lack of talent, or should've been embarassed or ashamed, but wasn't.
I took advantage while it was possible to do it all myself and get it out into the world. The powers that be are certainly already having meetings about how to curtail people like me in the future. I'm sure the gatekeepers will exert their strength again soon. But while such a thing was possible, I had the guts to give it a try, be vulnerable, put my music out there, all while knowing it wasn't anywhere close to being as good as music that I myself enjoy listening to.
I've done all this at a time when the hard rock music I grew up on was fading from popularity. Also during this time, it was hard to find any rock music where the strumming of an acoustic guitar was the primary instrument. Instead, I released music during a couple of decades in which rap and hip-hop and electronic music rose in popularity and dominated. I basically did the complete opposite of what a record company would have wanted me to do.

From the scraps of remaining information about me, if there is still any interest, curious fans might wonder why there's no live footage of me performing shows. Well, I never played shows because I know I'm not very good, and I only release recordings because I can make myself sound a little bit better than if I were playing live. I did play live in the late 80s & early 90s for a few years, but it was before the internet and cell phones caught on. It's a unique hobby in that the writing and recording parts that I enjoy can be done from your home.
I'm basically a private person and probably an introvert who doesn't like to venture out in public much, and I don't crave attention. I did love the applause and compliments when I did play in front of audiences, but I had stage fright, and I knew bars full of mostly people I knew who were drunk was only "polite" applause and not that real.
When you don't ever play live anywhere, no one is ever going to write about you, and I'm not going to submit my music to hopefully get some music blogger to review it. If someone out there wants to find my music, listen to it, and then write about it and post it online, they can. They haven't yet, and probably won't. If it's positive, yeah, of course I wouldn't mind knowing about it, but if negative, it might crush me.
It felt great and like I didn't really deserve it at the same time, and I realized I wasn't ever going to be a great performer or entertainer or band member. I was realistic about my chances of ever going beyond being a guy in some lame local rock band playing covers, and there wasn't any scene I was aware of for a solo acoustic guitar guy playing original songs. So, there, now the curiosity will be satisfied if people find this old blog post after I'm not around anymore.
If I could talk to my younger self fresh out of college in my early 20s, I might suggest heading to Nashville and trying to just be a songwriter. That's the part of music I love most and would have the best chance of doing. I would tell that self to get a day job while not giving up on writing and pitching for at least a decade. If that didn't pan out, maybe some other job in the music business would present itself that I thought would be interesting and that I could be good at.
How to sum up how I think I'll be remembered for a while? Some guy who liked to write songs, started releasing his home demos of them, couldn't sing or play very well, or be a recording engineer for that matter, but just did it anyway, for a couple decades, and didn't give up because it was an inexpensive, fun hobby. None of his songs ever became popular, hardly anyone ever found out about him or his music, and his songs weren't that great, unfortunately, but he was a decent guy who had fun trying.
That's probably just about it for the public persona stuff. Oh, and he was bold enough to write a web site and blog about himself as a solo artist too. He thought it would help, but it didn't. Oh well. If you never knew me personally, the music might live on for a while, along with a few photographs, but that's about it. Birth and death dates, basic stats, an obit, etc.
It's all somewhat a posing, pretending thing, but on the other hand, the songs and music are real, at least for now, they're still floating out there, ready to be found and listened to and liked and recommended. Some of that has actually happened, and it makes me feel good to know it. My music is not for everyone, and I'm not sure what it is people like about for the ones who do. I can only imagine that they appreciate that I'm just some guy - a self-taught, do-it-all-myself guy, who just decided to go for it.
Maybe you can hear what I'm not writing so far, which is that what I'd really like is for someone to actually say they like my songs and music, that they hear great potential in them...beyond the few close family and friend politeness compliments that are guaranteed for everyone with a creative hobby. Strangers writing publicly that they hear something special that I can read while still alive. Maybe that is the pipe dream I'm wishing for but not admitting.
It's probably not in the cards for me to have a posthumous increase in popularity like Nick Drake who went from unnoticed obscurity in life to people showing up at his grave and childhood home and bugging his sister and stuff like that starting a decade after he died until today. 

 Highly unlikely, but isn't there a part of all of us who can admit now while living that such a similar thing happening to us after we're dead would at least be just a little bit cool in some way?  Am I self-deprecating as a shield for potential negative reviews, so I let it be known I never thought I was better than I really was?  I wish I didn't care about how I'll be remembered, but admit I do a little bit.
I have a style of my own. I don't know how to describe it though. Just a guy with a background and influences like everyone else, having a good time with a hobby, but without a clue what makes it interesting to others. I wish others would describe it for me, but no one writes about my music, nor have I ever asked anyone to. It would be interesting to learn why people like it and how they would describe it. I literally have no idea.
Maybe that's why I still do it though - because I don't have any critics bringing me down and making me want to quit. I'll keep at it until I die probably. I've been a quitter in several other areas of my life, but so far, not with songwriting.  It's an enjoyable quest to keep trying to write a really good song someday. Actually, I don't try at all, I just write when inspired to do so without any goal to intentionally write a good one, but it would be cool if I did accidentally. The dream lives on.

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