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Passion = Success
By Henri Ferguson - 03/11/2003 - 06:42 PM EST

The initial excitement and euphoria of the new release has waned. There was some very positive feedback, and not just from family, and based on that, it would appear that this is/was indeed a worthwhile project. In any event not a bad record. Still we find ourselves staring at the unopened boxes of CDs, reading yet another review panning our record, the latest “no thank you” from a publisher, the local radio station that would “surely give our record a spin” has totally ignored us, the entertainment reviewer who had promised to do an article on our project has jilted us. Time to put on an old Leonard Cohen record and go shopping for razor blades?

I am always fascinated by the ability to stay optimistic in the face of formidable odds. A time when many are apt to throw in the towel dismissing the entire project as, “oh well. I gave it a shot”, “seemed like a good idea at the time”, “what were we thinking?”, etc. It also occurs to me that there is often a fine line between dogged determination to succeed when the deck is stacked against us, and blind faith which is euphemistically referred to as “that river in Egypt”. So assuming we opt for the first scenario, the question is, what now?

The first thing we have to appreciate is just how fierce the competition out there really is, and in that light we can hopefully begin to take the rebuffs a little less personally. Without big budgets for advertising and promotions, the reality is that it will take much persistence and time to get listened to. I have heard of hit songs floating around Nashville for years before catching someone’s attention. Lots of ifs here, but if we believe in our stuff, and if we are persistent and keep putting it out there, and if someone, somewhere hears our tune and brings it to the right person’s attention, we may just get our foot in the door. “And if not?” If we’ve written a good tune that resonates with people yet never gets airplay does that negate its inherent value? …..

Every journey regardless of how long, begins with that first step. The fact that we have come this far with our project gives us credibility and although that may not translate to airplay, royalty checks, and money in the bank, it does become an evolutionary step on our musical journey. When we do the second record, (and that mere fact will set us apart from those that pack it in after the first one) it will certainly add to our credibility and increase our chances of getting more attention the next time around.

I suspect that many of us DIY artists are doing this because it’s our passion, and the time and money we spend are almost irrelevant. The other consideration is how we measure success. In many of the songwriting workshops I have attended the common theme seems to say, write from your heart, write about what you know and live your passion through your music. And if this really is your passion, then by virtue of that you are a success.

Musically yours,

Henri Ferguson

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