That weekend ended up being a catalyst for the next 12 months of my life. To meet and learn from others who had this same internal passion was inspiring. I was not alone, there were other music geeks like me! It was an eye opener! The courses were taught by passionate songwriters like Kate Macleod, Ellis, and the performing song writing duo Moors & McCumbers. I also got many great tips from Jesse Thurgood and other artists that were attending.
It turned out to be a great couple of days of music making and making new friends. It helped to clear the fog I was feeling from the passing of my mother the year earlier. The clinic rekindled the creative spark that my career or my fear was always pushing to the side over the last 20 years. I remembered as a child I had always wanted to be a singer and a songwriter...yes, I belonged there and it felt good. Those two days were well worth the money!
Shortly there after I committed to playing publicly again whenever I could...I had always played on the front porch for friends and family but that was no longer as fulfilling. Something inside of me pushed me to share the songs with more people. To this day I'm still not sure what it is that makes one want to get up in front of a crowd to share with them something they have never heard.
Do I enjoy personal embarrassment? Does the risk justify the reward? Trust me it don't always go down like I planned it! It was then and there that I decided I would play in front of strangers performing my songs...it was sink or swim! Since then I've been playing every open mic I could find usually a couple times a week. I found larger gigs and playing opportunities in bars, clubs, and such ...some even paid me!
I was not your typical coffee shop act but the crowds; however large or small, were receptive. It was not long until strangers would come up to me after my sets in the coffee shop or in the bar and tell me they enjoyed the tunes! I was putting it out there and it was indeed coming back to me in smiles, applause, and "thanks for sharing" kind of comments.
I also began to market myself and my songs with FaceBook, websites, business cards, even cut a rough demo CD, and began to do the things the clinic had instructed us to do if we wanted to be considered a serious performing songwriter. Write, Play, Promote was my new mantra!
The "music boot camp" had started it all...soon I was asked to participate in local music venues. I was becoming a part of the local music scene. Today, I still look for new places to play often for little or no compensation just so I can continue to hone the craft...the art of sharing music. Yes, I'm still paying my dues but it feels like I'm now getting my moneys worth! I'm doing more of what I feel is ONE of the reasons I'm here...to share my spirit in song!
While planning for this years upcoming Song Writing Clinic I decided to take it one step further. I entered two of my songs in the actual song writing contest. As luck would have it I was told that I was one of the Top 10 Finalist for the contest. They asked me if I could participate in this years program and perform live in front of the judges. One year ago I was in the audience this year I will be on stage! Crazy, huh?
Thank you to all those that listened, that applauded, that tapped your feet, that provided an opportunity for me to share, but most of all a very special thank you to those strangers that personally took the time to come up to me after my performance to tell me how much you enjoyed it. When I let my spirit go in song you all brought it right back to me even brighter...fuller than before.
Yes, my songs and my performance will be judged in a couple weeks with other songwriters from around the country. I'm not completely sure I belong up there but I look forward to sharing my tunes and looking out across the audience with a humble heart thinking to myself "just one year ago"!
I'm a winner already! Looking forward to another year filled with new songs and new friends! Till we meet again...
Stay n' Tune,