Justification, Just Another Excuse?
By C. D. Johnson
Without conscious thought we human beings tend to justify our every action. Whether this is a fault or an attribute is usually up to the individual doing the justifying. In my own defense, I will state with resounding certainty that the facts involving my act of justification are irrefutable. Fact number one, breaking into the music business as a songwriter is about as improbable as a yellow feral cat winning best of show at any contest this side of "bazarroland". Fact number two, the sheer number of unknown songwriters pursuing the practically impossible route of typical song submission is astronomical.
To paraphrase the lyrics of an old country song, "There’s nine hundred fifty-two thousand songwriters in Nashville and every one of them can write a song twice as better than I will." Couple this with the "proximity effect network" of friends, family, friends of family, the tour bus drivers, or anyone with personal access to the "actual talent" and the odds just keep on getting greater and greater against your song being heard. (Or you being discovered.)
Actually, I could keep on and on with reasons to validate the justification of my actions. To spare you, the reader, I will stop my whining and get straight to the trap with which my justification laid and held me captive for way too long. Hopefully, something of value can be gleaned from my moment of weakness, or more appropriately, my months of inactivity.
Much to my embarrassment I will admit to taking a self-imposed sabbatical from songwriting and the marketing of my music and worst of all from the dream I've held for so long. The dream was almost laid to rest for what could have been forever. The dream of having at least one of my songs cut by an artist with an actual record deal. For some reason, as silly as it sounds, one radio play song (by someone other than myself) would make adding the word songwriter to my tombstone almost truthful.
For the record, as they say, "no brag just fact" back in 2010 my band and I did have one of our studio efforts make the play rotation at an FM station in Lightning Ridge, NSW, Australia. A lady at OPEL FM 89.7 radio with an obvious eclectic taste in music and a radio show entitled Ann's American Hour felt moved to play my song "One More Time" to the at least 10 or 15 people living within the 5 watt range of her stations 50 foot tower. To her I'm grateful.
That small success kept me writing for the next two years. Then in late 2012 doubt reared its ugly head and within six weeks the band had broken up. Irreconcilable differences, almost like a marriage ending. Except you get to keep your guitar and the dang yellow cat.
Anyway, long story short, I started with the justifications. And in the end I managed to think my way into giving up. There were days on end when I'd go into the studio and play my pity party while web surfing for songwriter salvation. Thankfully, during one of my marathon computer binges a bell rang. No not a sign from Heaven or an angel getting their wings but a well timed e-mail from a fellow songwriter. The e-mail contained a request to re-use some of my articles on songwriting from the old KSA Newsletter for a new project he was contemplating. Of course, I answered yes. But this one simple request compelled me to go back and re-read every article I'd written concerning songwriting.
At this point I suspect that you all can guess where this is headed. Because of a single e-mail I wrote a song today. Not a great song but a song never the less and hopefully it won't be the last one! Funny how a person can let his or herself lose sight of their goals just because time keeps on passing and success stays just out of their reach.
I guess what I've tried to say is that if you can justify giving up on a dream then why can't you justify taking a little more time with that same dream. Apply a little more thought and effort. Surround yourself with others that hold the same dream as you. And above all else, "DON'T GIVE UP YOUR DREAM"!
Who knows you could be the "one" out of the nine hundred fifty-two thousand songwriters in Nashville that actually make the show.
Carl David Johnson
Singer / Songwriter