Randy Granger

Randy Granger
In the Chihuahuan Desert near the Organ Mountains, New Mexico

Friday, September 13, 2013

Why do YOU do your music?

Ask any musician who can form a sentence why they are a musician? (and good luck) I’m talking here about the ones who do music as a job, a continued passion not the dabblers. I mean the one’s who don’t have a back up plan because they’ve never considered there is one. Not to diminish the rest of you. If you are making music then the most power to you my friend. Keep on. But when you “do” music and make a living at it solely or part-time it changes the dynamics completely. Believe me. Try it you’ll understand. 

A couple of recent interactions have me questioning. It’s about expectations of you as an artist, your audience, (if you’re blessed with one), where you will perform, how much you’ll expect to be paid and how you replenish your energies at the end of the day.  I was on a jury selection and a guy overheard and friend and I talking about my music, being on the road etc. This guy turns and asks if I’m a musician? I say yeah and he asked the usual 50 questions, where? Who? Band? When? And, of course, if I’d heard of him.  Long story short he keeps coming back asking how I do it as in who books my gigs, who makes my CD’s, which band do I use, did I need a drummer? How do I make a living at it? I’m so used to this I just rattle off answers like a robot. He is so persistent I just say, “Look man I work all the time, all the time, promote like hell, have few friends, drive 14hrs a day, sleep in my car at rest areas, eat the same food for a week, spend little and just trust someone is going to show up to my gigs and I can sell some music to keep on doing it.”

He looks irritated and says, “Well I would never charge for what I do since I’m in a praise band. I believe in giving it away.” Ok. Delicate territory. I’m about ready to head butt him hard, but remember I’m enlightened. Must....educate. I remind him he asked how I make a living at music and say, “It’s because I have to dude, just like you need to keep your job to pay your bills right?” People who play for free are a bane to we professionals, but that’s for another time. Ha-ha 

Part of a working studio
The other thing that happened is much more affirming, but it is part of the same wheel. I’m working on my new album “Ancient Grace” an album of solo Native American flute music. It is in direct response to the many listeners at shows and people online I hear from asking “Me” directly for an instrumental CD of my music they can meditate, fall asleep, relax, do yoga, massage, rekei to. I said yes I’d record one. As you recording artists know, when you’re working on an album project you are alone either in your studio or with an engineer who, for professional reasons, won’t give you feedback except on how it sounds. You work for hours and hours trying to avoid ear fatigue. You don’t eat or drink because those sounds come through the mics and if you aren’t recording Didgeridoo it won’t be a pretty sound. Some days you think Yay this is sounding/feeling great. Other days you think what the hell am I doing here? I suck. My music sucks. No one will buy this. Time to sell even more, or everything, on EBay. Those are the tough days for sure. It’s natural. Just take a break. A walk. If you didn’t have high standards you wouldn’t feel this way. 

I find Orange and Red help me work. ;-)
So in my meditation I was asking the Universe, Spirit... for a sign that my music matters, that it has a place in this world. After a while I check my email and found this from a fan that bought my music two years ago at a festival. He told me I needed to buy a private plane that it would be easier than driving everywhere. I’m totally serious. Anyway, here was this email from him and I just dropped my head on the table, emotional and grateful for the perfect sign. Here is the edited email for privacy:

 “Hi Randy,  We met at ….. a few years ago. A quick story:  I was driving from NC to PA on a day that every idiot that could get a car was out driving stupid. I was stuck in traffic and was about to pull out my gun and shoot myself then five others when one of your songs came up and I chilled out. So in a way, you saved 6 lives! 

Obviously I'm kidding, but I am amazed at what music can do. I hope you're still making great music. Take care”

When you put your heart, soul and passion into your music you don’t have anything left for yourself and, believe it or not, that’s ok. Just find the way that you recharge whether it is watching Breaking Bad reruns, playing games, cooking, hiking, meditating…..whatever. Do it because in the end the fact that you are inspired and given the gift of creativity and talent means YOU DO MATTER and what you do makes a difference whether you have 3 or 3,000 listeners.

I’m in Albuquerque this Sunday. Please come out, share it with your friends and post on your Facebook, twitter feeds. My Facebook page: Facebook Randy Granger Twitter: @RandyGranger  I appreciate you comments here. Thank you


Sept. 15, 9:30AM and 11:00AM. Unitarian Universalist Church of Albuquerque, 3701 Carlisle Blvd NE, Albuqeruqe, NM http://www.uuabq.org/ 

Sept. 15 7PM Expo New Mexico State Fair, Indian Village, http://exponm.com/state-fair/indian-village-schedule/ 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your music Randy, and offer you so much respect for what you do. I have composed 13-14 songs, and that was over a 10 year period. I feel all these songs were gifts that came to me. I cannot imagine having to sit down and write music because that's what you have to do. Thank you ...
Beth Prevedel