honest songs, honestly sung
singer and songwriter ben bruce

blog > Get Up to Get Down

Dec 13th, 2010

Keep working on your writing, record the songs, and book another show.

This came up for me (as it often does) after the Meltdown Encore (Awesome! Thanks! Watch videos!). Each gig is such a big deal for me — I prepare for weeks, visualizing, dreaming. Then I have a good set, I’m proud of myself, I get some comments from people that let me know that I done good. And then … nothing is different. Nothing changes. It’s still late nights and empty bars, singing to the ‘tender.

I wrote my friend1 about this a while back and part of his response was2:

The way to counter this is to keep working on your writing, record the songs, and book another show. Jeff Tweedy tells a story in the last Wilco doc about how they always just went after the next thing that seemed attainable at the time. After rehearsing in their garage they thought, “Well, maybe we can get a real gig.” Baby steps after baby steps after baby steps.

And of course he’s right (no matter how much my lazy, spiteful, grumpy half doesn’t want to admit it). You just keep working — it’s not about things being different. It never was.

And then what follows is it can’t be about the other people in the room3 — it has to be about you. Are you a singer? Are you a songwriter? Then write songs and sing them. Sing the fuck out of them. Or as Irma Thomas said much more gracefully, “Sing the doggone song.”

I’ve got two gigs coming up in January and that is my mission — to forget you are or aren’t there, whether things are or aren’t the same — and sing my heart out.

– Ben

1 Bob Rees (Flowmotion)

2 He also said, “Did you check out Danny Barnes’ blog yet? If you haven’t, you’ll feel better after reading it. This is about as good as anything I’ve ever seen on the subject. They should give this out with performance degrees at college right before they spit you out into the real world.”

3 I think you understand what I mean here. This sentiment is not about indifference to your friends and fans — of course not. This is about being in the moment creating music.

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