This weekend I had the pleasure of talking to a friend at church. We were both there to sing for the services and we managed to find some time to talk about our love of music in between the services. He too is a singer/songwriter making his way through town. We discussed the triumphs he has had over his year here. He has an “indie” cut, a song written for a local high school football team, and he was recently the winner of a local songwriter contest. He definitely seems to be well on his way.
As we were talking though he asked about networking and meeting people and co-writes… the whole “people” part of this town. He has the music down – but the interacting when co-writing and networking had him a little confused. He was caught off guard by those in this town that seem to be all talk. He was also disheartened by the lack of mentoring he received from some more mature songwriters.
We talked about his interactions with people in Nashville and I reminded him of a few things. People are people. Whether they are the CEO of a fortune 500 company buying stocks, the waitress at Waffle House serving breakfast, or the songwriter trying to be heard here in town – people are people. When you interact with anyone you have to remember they aren’t machines. They have bad days, they have opinions, and they have feelings that can get hurt. People can be rude, selfish and not fun to be around. But I have to believe that people can be the opposite too!
When talking to people intensely about music, he found that conversations would be cut short or the listener would seem uninterested. Just because someone does music doesn’t mean they want to talk about it ALL the time. When I first moved here I made the mistake of exhausting a few people. All I wanted to talk about was music – how do you “this” and when do you “this” and why should you “this”, etc… I was so intense I think I scared a few people off.
I learned to relax and just make friends. Talk about what you would generally talk about. Get to know people. In the end, if they end up helping you musically, great. But if not, when it is all said and done, your life is richer by having known someone. Do you know how amazing it is to share the journey of another soul, to be the one they trust their dreams with and let their guard down in front of? If it is hard for you to network, check out this blog – Networking 101. Not everyone you meet has to be your next co-writer, singer, or “musical money ticket.” Don’t lose site of the humanity of music.
Just as in life, in music not everyone wants to be helpful. Some people think about themselves, want to get ahead by stepping on, running past, or even using/hurting others. They think acting in this manner will work. If it does for them and they get ahead – in the end they will look back and tell someone the good news and the people they used along the way will not be there to pat them on the back.
I think the opposite of that scenario has to be a better option. Why not make friends – actual friends? If you want to get ahead, get to the heart. Being successful will come with the territory and will be only secondary to the actual goal of supporting people and encouraging this music community. I am not suggesting that you have ulterior motives. I implore people to be genuinely interested in the well-being of others. You will never be sorry that you did.
You find it easier to get along with Nashville if you remember to love people more than music. This is coming from someone that REALLY loves music. I live and breath it and for me to say to put it second to anything is pretty big! Make people your business and the music business will come more naturally.