It’s up to you if you, your life and music are excellent. Are you settling for mediocrity? Mediocrity is easy, but painful in the long term.
Allow me to share with you, dear reader – a current story in my quest for excellence.
As you may know – I am working hard on a Michael Jackson tribute fingerstyle guitar CD. At this phase I have 15 good tunes recorded, many of them are ones I have posted to Youtube.
As I sat and listened with my good buddy Paul Beaudry to my almost finished CD, he was just gushing for about 5 tunes, and then the feeling changed.
His face became more serious. My stomach sank. Most of us musicians feel that the music is an extension of us…if the music sucks, I suck. If it’s good – I’m good.
He and I started noticing a “sameness” to the grooves. Honestly I personally started feeling worn out by the lack of variation too. Surely I don’t want this to happen to my listeners!
The album needs to be a joy, a delight and a delicious experience for anyone who puts it on.
Here is the crucial point – it would be so easy to let things slide, to rush, to want it done, want it now. It takes serious self honesty to just say “it ain’t soup yet!”.
It takes patience too.
Essentially a bunch of great “guitar video singles” were not making a varied enough program to hang next to eachother on a “CD”. Back in the vinyl LP days a good album took you on a varied, interesting journey from one musical landscape to another. Led Zeppelin really was a leader in this.
Today most musicians don’t think albums…they think singles and mp3 downloads. Sorry – I want this CD to be in people’s players, playing all the way through.
Paul assured me that what was there was EXCELLENT – and he pulls no punches. He also advised me to go back and look at Michael’s Albums to see where pretty ballads are placed in between dance tracks.
The Moral of the Story:
This is a record that I want to be finished. However, accepting mediocrity is unnaceptable.
Standing firm only for excellence is permissable.
My gut says when it’s ready – not my head.
The price must be paid – in advance.
Out of tune guitar? Record it again.
Not enough groove on a tune? Record it again.
Not enough “pretty ballads” and too much “hit you over the head 2 & 4 groove? Record more and re-asses.
Make a plan and get to work.
Make things right.
Allow artistic instinct to prevail.
Late last night I discovered this video from Seth Godin, and I love his message. It resonated with me completely. Enjoy: