I am working on the structure of what my music career, ideally, would look like. It’s hard to figure out as a music artist how to make the music created have some real value. A lot of people would probably call me a successful artist – I’ve been traveling around the world and around the country several times a year for probably 15 years now. I have more than 50 solo albums made if you count the live ones, probably more like 60 or 65.
People seem to like my music on some scale. But the truth of the matter is that on the home front I’m a failure. Over and over again I fail to pay rent, fail to put food on the table for my family. And I repeatedly fall into the mental trappings of telling myself I’m not worthy to follow this career path. I know I’m not alone in this kind of abusive self-loathing as an artist. It’s true, I’ve been a terrible business person. Bursting with abundance of creativity, but really awful in the ways of looking ahead far enough to be stable.
But I continue on the other hand to tell myself there has to be another way. And I continue to pursue new ideas and learn and grow. I’ve tried a lot of things, but nothing has felt balanced enough in to be honoring the energy I put out as an artist.
What I know about myself is I LOVE writing songs and recording. And one of my favorite things to do is write a song by recording. I’ll start with a drum beat or a melody idea or any little bit of what may become a song and just start to dream it into reality by fleshing it out slowly. I tell myself I must be put on the earth to make songs and art because it gives me so much joy. Besides some of my hobby work as a community activist, making art is the only work where I feel completely in my element and at peace with the Universe.
Back to the structure I’m creating. I want to make albums all the time. I want that to be my main thing. How can I accomplish that goal and sustain a robust living? You can’t just keep flogging your fans over and over for more and more support. But I ask myself – “what would I want the artists I love to do with their time?” and the answer is I would want them to make their art. And I believe it should be true that if they continue to devote themselves, making a living should be right there at hand.
I want to create these handmade recordings but I know that when it comes to putting myself out there, working with another person – and in my case it’s Tucker Martine 🙂 – is going to make the impact that will resonate on the major scale.
So I have to feed two birds with one seed. The idea behind this string of recordings I’m going to be making now is that they will act as demos for the major studio albums. And on the other hand, they can be windows into the process of making those albums and stand-alone works in their own right. I think there are probably 5 or 6 songs on “If There Is A Guard Above” that I would love to take into the studio right now. But after a year of writing a bunch of albums worth, to be taking my pick from – it’s gonna be some deep stuff that I end up with.
And the releases will have to be finite. I will be making only about 200 or 300 CD copies of each of these home recordings with the ability to sell more digital downloads, depending on what people want to get. And the allotted time to sell them will be capped off at about 4 weeks tops. I’m hoping to turn around and make another album this month, etc. Working on recording full time and doing a few concerts here and there.
With almost 5,000 Facebook fans, and 750 on my email list, 1000 plus Instagram, etc, I figure the firing order should be notifying folks through the email list and if they don’t sell out there, then onto my FB and Instagram fans by sending private messages. Maybe I’ll make a post or two. But I don’t want to make a big stink out there about these recordings. I want them to be super special and when they’re gone, they’re gone. And the folks that have them will be different than the ones that get the next release perhaps. Maybe some more driven fans will get them all…
Wish me luck! And if you’re reading this, and you’re interested in getting in the loop on some of these, please sign up for my email list. And thank you for reading this. Please enjoy one of my fav tracks from this fresh collection, recorded probably a week ago – “The Sand.” It features a little story from my father’s childhood of stalking and killing a blue heron which ended up changing his life.