I really freakin’ love hotel rooms. I feel like I’m on vacation, like I’m special, like I have no cares in the world, even if none of these are true. I am on a trip. On tour. On business. Not on vacation. Whatever you want to call it, it has, indeed, been a trip so far. I guess it’s a tour because I’m playing at least one show in every city I’m in. And it’s business because I’m networking and having meetings and setting up future work for myself. And though I’d like to call it vacation, because I am having the time of my life, I’d feel lazy calling it such. A whole month on vacation? with no pay? Impossible. Idiotic. Especially in these times…. right?
Possibly. Or not. I spent about two weeks in Los Angeles pounding the proverbial pavement, had that magical gig where some big-wig manager came up to me after demanding a meeting to discuss “signing” me. I met a famous composer who humored me by watching my composing reel and suggested we work together. I dined with a music publisher who critiqued EVERY song on “Craving The Second” from the angle of what would place well on TV and what wouldn’t. I performed “Keep” for Carol Conners (wrote the Rocky theme song, among a million other tunes) in Beverly Hills. I hung out with new friends and saw old ones, co-wrote a song and sat behind the biggest mixing console I’ve ever seen (at a movie-mixing studio).
And this is what I learned: I can do this.
A few months ago, I was telling a good old friend (the kind that tells the bitter truth no matter what) that one of my articles was being published in Keyboard Magazine. His response: “Now you’re a writer too? Well aren’t you the jack of all trades, master of none.” I hung up.
Then I called back and apologized and explained my initial burst of anger. It was true. At his response, I quickly became ashamed of the dozen things I do to try to pay the rent (including personal training and teaching fitness classes), sell records and write music. Shouldn’t I be the best at something, at one thing? And for a long time, I thought it was a bad thing that I wasn’t. Until last week when I heard composers and managers and publishers, all who listened to the same songs and viewed the same composing reel, tell me the same thing: that I can score picture AND write and sing my lyrics, and that being a jack of all trades is “in” now, that it’s my ticket to success. Of course, my mom’s been telling me this for years, but I guess it takes a whole bunch of unfamiliar knocks on the ole noggin for me to open the door.
Now I’m halfway through this trip, I’m sitting at a bar in an Austin music venue, waiting for a band to play. After a crazy first 2 days here, I’m laying low in my hotel, checking out the scene by night and writing music by day. (See picture below: hooked up in the hotel.)
I’ve got a commercial and documentary deadlines this week. I’m psyched. I don’t have to fight myself anymore. I don’t have to decide whether or not I should ditch the gigging to have a career as a composer, or give up potential success to write songs all my life. I can take my skills and apply them wherever I choose; as a singer/songwriter and as a composer. I choose both. “Decide” is like “homicide”, “suicide” and “genocide”, where something, some option, is killed off, forever. No more deciding. Only choosing.
I am a composer on tour. I am a performing artist composing in my hotel room. I am doing what I love. I am the best at being me.