Saturday, November 6, 2010

LA TAXI Convention with Jared! First Full Day - UPs N Downs

Wow! I'm not sure how to begin! It was an incredible day, full of good advice, good reviews and not so good reviews.

We started the day off with a delicious breakfast in a cafe just down the street. Hotel restaurant prices border on the obscene, so we have had to walk a bit to find places that we could afford. That is part of the fun of it all though.
Then it was back to the hotel's Grand Ballroom where Jared and I spent the majority of our day listening to experts give advice on how to make a song that will sell. The place was packed! We were fortunate enough to find chairs closer to the front.
There were several sessions in the Ballroom. Among them were the panels of experts who listened to submissions and critiqued them. The panel above was for TV and Film Scoring among other things. I prayed and prayed that they would pick Jared's music, but of the hundreds of submissions, his was not chosen .
The panel in the picture above was the one that critiqued Christian music (again, among other types). This is the one I submitted my song to be critiqued. I admit, part of me didn't want them to play it. They didn't play Jared's stuff earlier, so I didn't want to be heard if he wasn't (sound stupid? Probably, but that's how I felt).

Through the glass doors was the room where all the mentors were! Jared went first. Again, I prayed and prayed for him while he was in there. I so badly wanted him to be found and told how great he is (because he is!). And guess what? That's what happened! Jared's mentor listened to three songs (very unusual, as you will soon see with my session). Long story short, Jared's mentor only had good stuff to say! Praise God for a great review! Next was my turn....
My mentor was very nice, polite and I'd have to say patient too. It started off when I went to her table at my scheduled time, there was already a man sitting there in my spot. I asked if they were about done that I had this slot. Well, ended up we were double booked. I got bumped to a slot an hour and a half later.
...An hour and a half later, I am in line to go back in. Come to find out, I am now the last person to be mentored. I imagine my mentor was a little tired of doing this all day, and wanted to get out of there (I would've).

I put my cd into the jam box and it didn't work! I grabbed two more and got the same result. Then I pulled out my iPhone, found the song and hooked up my mentor's headphones. Volume was too low! Finally, I booted up my mac, plugged in the headphones and cranked the volume. That worked.

During all that, I was talking nervously about how great Jared's mentor session went and how proud of my family I am. My song began playing. I couldn't wait until Ab's violin solo came in, but we never got that far.

I only had ten minutes total, and time was short, but I don't think that mattered much. Fact was, my Mentor didn't like it. I don't think that any part of the song could be salvaged. She said that the guitar rhythm pattern was current, but was "overdone"; similar lyrics have already been done.. to much scripture; she said to listen to Matthew West and Chris Tomlin; listening to a song is like watching a movie (formula); the chorus didn't present itself strong; bring drums in sooner; bump up the energy by the first chorus; and then she gave me the titles of three books to read.

I was kinda stunned at first and walked out of there wondering what had just happened.

I think the first thing that came to my mind was, "Well, now I know for a fact that they weren't just telling everyone that they had good songs - this validates Jared's good review!" That question could be thrown out now. After that thought, I began to struggle with how I looked at myself as a musician. It caused a lot of reflection. First, I often wondered if folks liked my songs because they love me. My family and friends are so tightly knit together in Christ, that they love my music because it came from me. They know where I've been, seen my goofy side, shared my pain. They know me. Anyway, I often wondered what would happen if I had an objective party critique my music. Would I get the same response? Am I really like those kids on American Idol that people laugh at - and the only one that doesn't know I'm a joke is me? No. I'm pretty sure that's not the case. But, honestly, the thought presented itself. (mental, aren't I).

Jared, Lynnette and Ab all jumped in with comforting words and made me feel really good. Praise God for them! It kinda hit me at that moment that one of the reasons I make music is for people to like it and the people who are most important to me already do! Jared also reminded me that the critique I got was from the perspective of making a hit song. My friend Scott mentioned this several weeks ago, that they are looking for "formula" work, so don't be surprised if you didn't fall into formula right away. All this and an opportunity to minister to a poor man in the street later in the evening, helped me feel just how blessed I am.

This blog is getting really long! But, I'm not done yet.

I have to ask myself, "What next?" Well, one thing is I won't be defeated. I like to play my guitar and sing. And, even though I don't create the mainstream stuff, I'm capable of learning what works. My mentor didn't say that I have no talent, just that the song was not something that would work. I will read the recommended books and determine if following what they say will make me like my songs better. I'm pretty sure all the advice was good and would help me.

One thing I forgot to mention is during all this, I felt the presence of Christ, reminding me that He, like my family and friends, loves my music and gave me what talent is there to bring Him glory, and He is happy with me. I think he likes my song. It's about him / which is my life. Praise God for his awesome lessons in life: of humility, love and joy!

Today is a new day, yesterday is behind, today will bring more adventure... that's pretty exciting! Good morning LA!


  1. Okay, I'll admit it, I cried for you after your mentor session, but mainly because of the line that you texted me - "I suck". You do not and I'm so glad you came to that realization as you processed it all.

    You know me, I love to encourage, but I'm an honest encourager. I don't give empty compliments. I love your new song. Yes, it's scripture... but this is what scripture says about sharing scripture. Is. 55:10-11 "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

    Let God move you... as he desires. Let God guide you... as he will. Let God encourage you... as he has. You are doing a work for him and he will use you my love.

    Keep the music coming!

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  3. I'm so sorry Dad. You have talent! I love your song.