It's Sunday night, May 24th. I've got, and I'm assuming most of you
have tomorrow off to celebrate Memorial Day. Thank goodness for that,
because I'm wiped out and could use another day off to recharge my batteries.
My family is
upstairs sleeping. After I tucked everybody in, I drove to the neighborhood
Starbucks for a little "inspiration." Tonight, it came in the form of
a Venti, Mocha Frappuccino with a double shot of caffeine. Cool and
refreshing, and it packs quite a wallop.
for this column comes not only from the buzz I'm getting from the frosty
libation, but from something that was said at a wedding I attended today.
It wasn't the part about a marriage being the union of two souls. It
wasn't the part where the happy couple committed themselves to each
other in good times and in bad. Nope, my inspiration came when a half-drunk
man at our table said to his wife, "Look at him. All it took was one
good idea, and now he's a success." He was talking about me. Well, at
least he was pointing at me when he said it. His index finger!
My ego should
have been pumped, but it wasn't. I don't know how he measures success,
but there's a pretty good chance his gradient scale isn't the same as
his comment only served to tick me off. Why? Because he was minimizing
what he perceived as my success by boiling it down to just one good
idea. TAXI is where it is today because of hundreds of good ideas (many
of which have come from TAXI's staff), and years of hard work.
But I'm not
here to tell you about TAXI or myself. I'm here to tell you about you.
A formidable task when you consider that I've only had the pleasure
of meeting several hundred of you. That leaves several thousand more
of you to go.
What I want
to say to you is that it takes a hell of a lot more than just a good
idea. It will take more than just one good idea for you to write a hit
song. A good idea is a dandy starting place, but it's definitely not
the whole enchilada. Songwriting is a craftone that you develop over
time. Slow and steady will most likely win the race.
put an unbelievable amount of work into creating the light bulb. Thousands
of man-hours were spent before the first practical model was realized.
Much more than just a good idea. The same is true for the automobile,
the atom bomb, the airplane, and putting a man on the moon. A lot more
than a good idea was behind each these historic inventions.
what it's going to take for you to achieve your musical goals. Don't
be so hard on yourself. Don't think that you should be able to write
that one in a million song every time you try. Even Diane Warren can't
hope or determination when you send in a submission and it doesn't get
forwarded. Wait till you cool off from the shock, then climb back on
your horse and write another song and send it in.
Think of TAXI
and songwriting the same as you would a membership to a gym, and the
desire to get your body in shape. Having the idea that you'd like to
lose those love handles is one thing. To have them drop off during your
first visit to the gym is another.
You would be
richer than Bill Gates if you could find a way to shed those unsightly
pounds (without liposuction) in just one visit to the gym. And I'd be
on a permanent fishing vacation if I could teach you how to write a
hit song every time you had a good idea.
TAXI is just a vehicle to help you get your music to the right people.
It's also a tool to help you improve your material if it's not quite
ready to land on a VIP's desk.
not a miracle cure for bad songwriting. Not to worry though, you already
have one in your headit's called your brain. But you have to exercise
it to make it work for you. And that means more than just having good
ideas. You need to develop those ideas, refine them, then make them
speak in a language so simple, so direct, that anyone who hears them
will know what they mean and will be touched by them.
An irate member
once told me that the responsibility for good communication sits squarely
on the shoulders of the person communicating. In case I didn't communicate
that well enough... what it means is that it's up to you to make your
songs so easily understood that everybody who hears it will "get it."
I think when you look at everything you write from that perspective,
you'll quickly see that my inebriated friend at the wedding was wrong.
It takes much, much more than just a good idea to be successful at anything!
It takes knowledge and hard work. Now there's a theme I rarely touch
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