Why do you really sing?

OK. Yes.  It’s been FOREVER since my last newsletter.  First reason:  I asked a question in the last newsletter that I had to ponder myself a lot over the last few weeks.  It took me a while to be able to answer my own question, even though honestly, I’ve been thinking about it for years.  Second reason:  Been very busy getting my band ready for our next gig, with a new lineup. (That gig is this Friday, if you’re in Colorado’s Front Range.)

To remind you – or if you just signed up for this newsletter recently – the question was:

What’s your REAL reason for singing?

This is an important question to answer for yourself if you’re putting a lot of resources (time, money) into lessons, recording, coaching, school, rehearsals, and everything else that goes into pursuing music at a high level.

I asked this question because some of the goals I’ve heard from people, in my opinion, don’t represent what they really want.  And when you set a goal that doesn’t represent what you REALLY want, it’s pretty disappointing when you achieve it.

For example, I know someone who believed – subconsciously – that the day he played a show in front of 15,000 people, he would finally be happy.  And after he did play that 15,000 person show?  He walked off the stage thinking…  Huh.  I feel exactly the same.  Nothing’s changed.  Now what?  Why have I dedicated my life to this?

His real desires were deeper.  They were personal issues, things unrelated to music.

This is why I’m asking.  I’ve been asking myself for a few years now what it is I REALLY want out of music.  And the answer keeps evolving, but I have a pretty good handle on it now. 

But there are so, so many singers out there who think that if they just get featured on iTunes; if they just make it to the finals of The Voice or X Factor or American Idol or America’s Got Talent; if they just sell 100,000 albums (and, you should know, almost NO ONE does that any more); if they just get one of their songs played on the radio… That if one of these things happens, that other, totally unrelated things will magically happen.  That they’ll be happy.  That their boyfriend will come back.  That their family will love and respect them.  That they’ll be popular.  That they’ll be rich and not have to work hard any more.

Nope, nope, nope.

Be prepared for a long hard road.  Be prepared to do it because it’s what you WANT to do.  As they say, it’s the journey, not the destination.  Yes, you have to have a destination in mind, but you’re going to spend your life on the journey so it better be worthwhile.

Here’s why I do music.

The shallow answer:  Because you gotta do something all day.  And I’d rather write and sing and play and practice and teach and perform, than write software or work in a store or go to a professional office or any of the other ways you can make a living.  Because working in music offers me constant variety and lots of control over my life.  Because I like what my days, my weeks, my life look like in this career.  Because I like the people I hang around with in music.  

The deeper answer:  Because music is my search for immortality.  It’s the way I’ll leave something of myself behind.  (I don’t and won’t have kids, BTW.)  It’s the way I hope to connect with a larger group of people than just my family and friends, and give the world something meaningful.  It’s the arena in which I now choose to pursue excellence – the way I choose to strive to push my limits and be my best.


Now, if you still think your dream is to be a full-time rockstar, please read this:

The Mythology of the Full-Time Musician