On Editing, Artistry, Fans And Friends

I won’t lay claim to any godlike powers, but I’m well aware that I’m 99th percentile in an awful lot of things; that may make me special, but it doesn’t earn me special treatment. I’m only as good as the track you’re listening to right now. (and if you’re a music industry gatekeeper, I’ll be very surprised if you listen to more than ten seconds before hitting the “next’ button-because I understand that my stuff can be great and still not be what you’re looking for)

There’s a blurry line between a healthy ego and a bad attitude, particularly if we’re talking about artistry. It really does take a lot of damn gall to pick up a microphone in the first place.  Being an artist isn’t something you do to make money, it’s a calling; you do it because you have to, and can’t even imagine yourself as anything else. In fact, Dr. Drew would probably say that being an artist or having artistic aspirations is a form of personality disorder. In my opinion, this is what makes many artists difficult to deal with, and I think it’s called either ‘artistic vision’ or ‘blinders’. Hey, it’s the producer’s job to see the forest, the artist just plants and waters the seeds. (and prays for a redwood rather than a Charlie Brown xmas tree)

Belief in oneself is a great and empowering thing, but if you can’t separate yourself from your work, you’ll likely make it difficult for anyone to help you improve either of the above. I have a theory that artists are artists because they’re more emotionally sensitive than the average bear; I think it makes sense, if you consider that if you’re going to portray an emotion, you must first feel that emotion. You need an intimate familiarity with how anger knots the muscles of the face, or how love melts the cockles of the heart. (you haven’t lived, ’til you’ve had your cockles melted)

You have to feel it while you write it, and feel it again while you’re singing it and you need to feel it enough to make other people feel it with you; that’s the essence of artistry, imo. I think you also need to be in love with the work; (at least until after the tour, by which time you should be disgusted with it and ready to write more) but you can’t be in love with it when you’re evaluating it, and you have to evaluate it, unless you can get somebody to do that for you; otherwise you won’t know how to edit, and edit you must, because there’s a limit to everybody’s attention span, and you can go from fascinating to annoying brutally quick, depending on who’s listening. You need friends as well as fans; your fans will love everything you do, but your friends will tell you the truth. If you lash out at people who tell you the truth, you could end up surrounded by only fans; I’m pretty sure that’s what happened with Elvis and Michael Jackson, and you can see how that turned out.

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