A Blog about recording and performing musician Randy Granger told in his words. His life as a songwriter, performer, educator, serious Foodie and full-time musician with all the triumphs, lessons, life on the road observations told with humor, irreverence and reflection. An award-winning composer and songwriter Granger blends Native American flutes, the Hang, voice and world percussion into a completely unique contemporary Southwest World sound.
In the Chihuahuan Desert near the Organ Mountains, New Mexico
Friday, September 17, 2010
Are you a Fan? A Friend? Or a Fran?
I’ve learned to keep my expectations simple. When you are a musician you really need to know what you are walking into but also plan for contingencies—and let me tell you are some big ones at times. Personal examples would be being double booked with another act, not being on the calendar because the person who booked you quit and took everything, getting the worst possible time slots at a festival, your instrument not making it to your destination..etc. As far as before performing I find a quiet time to focus before I play. I ask my brain, lungs, hands, arms etc. to please work together harmoniously and thank them. Then I map out in my mind what I’d like to have happen with a performance. Simple things really like playing or singing in tune, being 100% present, making people feel a little better than before they listened and that the sound, noise, weather all support what I’m doing. Making money and having a huge, appreciative audience is a bonus.
Since the Facebookization of the web what used to be called friends is more a strangely related cross between a forum, message board and high school. I meet people from Facebook who drive hours to my shows and I am always amazed at how it seems we know so much about each other. In reality we don’t. Being a public figure/entertainer it is getting a little hard to find out how to balance people I don’t know, but know my music and my posts ergo know (or think) they know my psychology, tastes, spirituality etc. No different than music mags who used to ask musicians what their favorite food or color was only to have fans show up to shows with cans of ravioli and all wearing Chartreuse t-shirts.
Before Indian Summer Music Awards in Milwaukee
I have come up with a new term for people who are Facebook friends and fans I call them “Frans.” A Fran is a fan you let friend you. Recently a fan asked me why I didn’t accept their friend request and I chose to not to answer instead giving my trademark half smile. Frans come to you through your music, videos, performances or other connections. The bring expectations that you Are your music or your stage presence. As they get to know you on Facebook or twitter they are usually astonished or offended to find out you have really bad days, use profanity freely, post photos of your not so fully-clothed body and goddess forbid, don’t share their political, religious spiritual preference. Flute people want to talk about procuring flutes, (a lot) Hang people want to talk about the cosmic healing powers of the Hang, New Agers want to talk about spirit doing this or that, Karma or give you lectures about the law of attraction. What do I want to talk about? Food, music, bathroom humor, Seinfeld, Homer Simpson, travel and how poor I am always begging people to buy my CD’s and anything that comes to mind. I suck at talking about how my music makes someone feel, or how much I move them or what I was thinking when I wrote a song or a certain blog or what I was playing at 2:03 in a video I posted two years ago. Huh? You think these things are planned? Heck I’m happy to get through a song with energy left to sign CD’s.
Frans expect you to be someone they’ve formed in their minds through selective status updates or tweets. It is a great and accessible new world in the cyberverse. What I hope to happen is people like me as a person first, and then my music, my philosophy, my passion for food and cooking etc. I try to be as authentic and unscripted in my cyber life as real life, but there are many many complex things I don’t want to share and some Frans can downright make me uncomfortable when they show up to my shows with lists of questions, invite me to lunch then pull out a folder of questions for me. These aren’t journalists; these are relative strangers wanting to pump me for who knows what. I know I’ve lost some fans recently in the past two months when I drew a line and said if these questions, life and music lessons continue I would need to be paid. Oh well. See I’ll say it again; this is how I make a living. A very meager, tight living but information is education and my time should be as respected as any other professional’s time like a doctor, accountant, and plumber. Being authentic gains you few friends and, based on my sales, VERY few fans who actually buy your music. So if you’re gonna Fran me at least buy a CD much like you would buy date a drink first…. Thank you for reading these blogs. I hope they offer some entertainment and insight into life as an independent musician.
This video is from Indian Summer Fest where I had a blast playing solo at the awards show doing Double-Barrel Train Wreck and a First Flute Song story and dance with the cutest kids ever. They were wonderful and so sweet afterwards. What a blast. When I began playing this song there were literally hundreds of Dragonflies and Butterflies that flew in over the crowd. You can see some of them but to experience the sheer number and choreographed dance they were doing as I played was absolutely awe inspiring. Thank you for reading my blogs. I appreciate you.