23 October 2007
Roughly a decade after I was the Anyone Can Host contest runner up, there was the Seattle Songwriters' Showcase. Each artist, after singing up early in the evening, got to do two songs, originals only. Not playing the guitar or having anyone to accompany me was not going to hold me back. In school I played the violin. In third grade, doing a solo in front of the entire elementary school helped sow the seeds of resolution. Instead of melting down under the nervous energy, somehow I found a way to focus that back around to my advantage and play with more feeling. How did you handle it when you were first starting, under the spotlight, ready or not? When it's show time, does something special kick in?
Creativity often comes in waves. Having an outlet can be the earthquake behind the tsunami. The last trip to Europe, after Miami, it seemed that writing songs came more naturally. This progression continued in Vegas, where I had some demos produced, so by this time there was a backlog of songs that had never been heard. So I sang a capella, every week something different. After a few months, I worked out a deal with Jeff Tassin, the guy running the showcase, to produce some of my songs. I took out a loan from my credit union to buy a new sequencer, a Roland S-50, for his garage studio. We agreed on a price per song as payment for the equipment. While they were originally intended as demos, there was a cassette called the Collectors' Edition that I sold a few hundred copies of in my store, or gave away to pretty women. Almost all of what we did turned out to be new songs written at the same time, not backlog.
There was a best of, anniversary night that I ended of being one of the highlights of. This got on local television and people would recognize me in the supermarket. I sent demos out and got a publishing deal with a record company in England, but nothing came of it. It wasn't enough to merely sing, I had to go wild with props and costumes. One guy who saw me at my weekly restaurant gig said people would pay top cover and stand in line to see me in LA. But an influential group of suburban snobs got me axed after leaving the owner notes calling me a velcro leather nazi, my lyrics morbid and stating that they did not come there to be whipped. Some people just don't get it.
Think my act may have gone down better in New York? I'm not dead yet....
May the song in your heart be a happy one,