While perusing my Facebook Fan Page statistics to get some sense of who listens to my music, I found that the two largest groups (sorted by gender) were men in my age group (I’m 45 and thanks if you think I look younger, and yes, my photos are current), and women in the age group of my best friend and life partner Megan (she’s 27). I wondered why this might be. I mean it makes perfect sense that guys my age, many of them long time friends, would enjoy my music. We grew up the same styles that influence me. The younger female crowd is certainly not there because I’m part of the styles they grew up on. I thought that maybe it was do to with Megan being a part of my life, inspiration for many of my songs, and that she shows up in the photos. Are there young women aspiring to her career in modeling, acting and music that look to her for a role model? “How do we get to work in these mediums? How do we get to where she is?” Then it hit me…
While it’s no doubt a beneficial exercise from a marketing standpoint to understand your audience, I laughed to myself (I do this often, along with having conversations with myself) as I reflected. When did it become so important in the emotionally disconnected world of the web to be popular? Is everybody looking for fame? What happened to fulfillment?
Needless to say (but here I go anyway), we human beings require affirmation from our friends, family, work associates, fans, and media (if we’re in financial need of them). Well, unless you’re a sociopath or megalomaniac. When I’m having a bad day, full of doubt, full of question as to my human identity and what future I have, Megan always gives me perspective… one of many reasons that I’m marrying her. She’ll remind me that I’ve been very fortunate. I make a living in music—teaching, writing, recording, performing; I’ve received nothing but positive reviews, save a focus group of musicians… we’re all notorious for panning anything but ourselves. How many musicians does it take to change a light bulb? One. He holds the bulb and the world revolves around him.
I do the same for my sweetheart when she’s on a bad spin out. It’s what we all do for each other. I hope. What is your life truly about? Something to ponder, but I’ll be presumptuous and throw a couple ideas out there. I would start with happiness… we all desire it. But what is it? Another ponderable. So, I’ll go with one thing people seem to miss. You know those days when your boss is a jerk and the day is full of one insurmountable obstacle after another? How about when you’ve been sick for a week with some disgusting pukey and shitty illness? Ever overcome tremendous adversity? I think we’ve all been through all of these things. Ask yourself some questions. How did you feel after it was over? How did it change your perspective on your own life? Did you end up saying, “Enough of this bullshit, I’m going to finally pursue my dream of (place dream here).” And when you find your niche, when you discover the thing that you really can’t stand not to do… here is happiness, even on the crappy days, weeks, month, years. You found fulfillment.
I had a horrible couple of months earlier this year when I lost five people in as many weeks, while watching several close friends and family also struggle with incredible hardship. I made it through, as always. As I saw myself move past all of this, I went to the studio and recorded a song by Tom Waits that I always felt was a deep reminder of the importance of not slacking off in life, of not being afraid to love, that there is only so much Time to live a valuable life, to create value in life.
I guess what I’m saying is, who gives a fuck how many fans you have on MySpace, Facebook, Reverbnation, and the like (save your promoter or agent, maybe your pocketbook), remember why we’re here, whatever it is you do.
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