Google never ceases to amaze me. It is more than a search engine. It is an intuitive, problem solving tool that can lead you to places you never even conceived. I'm sure there are algorithms and programming and fancy shmancy technical jargon behind Google way beyond my mental capacities, so I'll stick to saying that Google is very, very, very neat.
Case in point... today I googled "aspiring musician". It's part of my blog's tagline, and I was curious to see where the search would lead me. The top result was Thoughts for the Aspiring Musician, an article by Christopher Knab from May 2002. I took two things away from the article:
(1) "There are no short cuts to success" and (2) Christopher Knab left his phone number at the end of the article.
The first thing is a quote from about halfway through the article. It seems simple enough, a "DUH" statement (more on this in a later blog post), but when you really think about it, it's a very daunting observation. "There are no short cuts to success". It is going to take a lot of hard work and good ideas and being in the right place at the right time and preparation and luck and perseverance and personal attention and integrity and an open mind and mulititudes of other factors to have success. It is not going to be easy. It is not going to just fall into your lap. I'm beginning to realize the truth in that statement more and more every day. And at times I'm scared shitless, and I think if it's really worth the trouble, and I doubt if I can even do it. But then I remember that accepting that "there are no short cuts to success" can set you free because it means you're dedicating yourself to the process, not to the end result. And the process is what's rewarding, the mini victories, the demos, the small failures that you put behind you and learn from, the coffee shop open mics, the days you spend taking baby steps, the late nights spent recording onto the Voice Memo Recorder on your iPhone... It's going to be a fun journey, and I'll be sure to pass up every single short cut along the way.
The second thing might not seem like much, but to me, it is absolutely impactful. He left his phone number at the end of the article. Leaving an email address I can understand (which he also does). You can ignore emails. But your phone number? Yeah, you can ignore phone calls, but most of the time, your phone is right there on you and you have to take it out and look at who's calling and decide to ignore them and then the caller can leave a voicemail, which you'll eventually have to listen to and then delete if it ends up being useless or boring. What's the point of all this, you ask? I feel as if by leaving a phone number, Chris Knab made a conscious decision to step out from behind the curtain of internet anonymity. By listing his phone number, Chris Knab is showing he's a real person. A living, breathing, educated, opinionated person that has insight into the music industry and is willing to share that insight with others. And I think that's really effin' cool. In this day and age when SPAM abounds and you open up friend requests from bots on a daily basis, it's nice to know that there are still real people out there. And for that I thank you, Chris Knab. I'm gonna follow your blog (http://miyb.blogspot.com/) and also follow you on twitter (@ChrisKnab). And maybe one day, I'll actually call the phone number and have a real conversation with you.
We can all learn a thing or two from Chris Knab and his being a real person. Nowadays, gimmicks sell, especially in the music industry. But just as quickly as those gimmicks sell, they fade away into oblivion. And if there's one thing I don't want to do, it's try to appeal to everyone with a flash in the pan gimmick. I want people to listen to my songs and connect with them. I want to be able to have discussions with each of my fans about what my songs mean to them. I'm not there yet. But I know "There are no short cuts to success", and as a real person (call me 626-483-9530), I'm looking forward to the process of getting there...