Cool story, and a great lesson.
And I love the song the author of the article is referring to. Karsten and I had just finished demo’ing a song called “Moved On” when this song, “I’m Movin’ On” hit big. At first, I rolled my eyes and thought, “great, now no one’s going to touch ours” since the general consensus about titles seems to be that music biz people shy away from anything that sounds too similar to anything else that’s been popular recently. (And that’s a very fine line, of course, because popular music is all about working within what sounds similar to everything else that’s out there. But it just can’t be too similar.) Anyway, then once I really listened to the song, I fell in love with it.
I can say this about the article: I do know that it’s incredibly hard to work so hard for so long at something you want so badly with so little return. I have no trouble understanding why so many people give up and leave Nashville (or give up and stop working at whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish). The phrase “believe in yourself” has been overused to the point of meaninglessness, but here, you are only as strong as your ability to smile when people tell you you suck. And you’re only as good as your ability to cannibalize your own heartbreak. And it’s either all about reinventing yourself, or all about staying true to yourself, or both. And it’s either all about marketing, or it’s all about soul, or both. And heaven help you if you can’t make sense of all that.
But my big successes as a songwriter are still ahead of me, so other than that, I have little to add to Williams’ wisdom. I just hope that someday I’ll be writing articles of my own to inspire up-and-coming songwriters to stick with it and “believe in themselves.” It’s a powerful feeling when you really realize what that cliche actually means.
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