On Becoming a Jerk

When do you just become a jerk?

When do you finally say to musician friends whom you respect for their hustle, but you can’t sing or name one of their songs…

“Look, I appreciate that you keep inviting me to your ‘events’, but I don’t want to go see you perform at such and such dive bar….”

When is the last time the “next big thing” was discovered in a dive bar???  Only Leon Bridges comes to mind.

“I want to see you on a good stage with lights, surrounded by other undeniably talented musicians, not just you and a bunch of pretenders that I’ve never heard of and will never hear of again, who got the gig because they know someone who is someone or know someone who knows someone who knows someone who is someone…”

And that’s how it always works, until the talent shines through. And when the talent shines through, people know. They get it, because it has the quality of being undeniable.  And they tell everyone who will listen.

“That’s why I won’t be at your event that you’re inviting me to on Facebook.  I know you are talented, but I’m not going to go. Because I know I’m gonna have to sit through a bunch of garbage in order to get to you, and my time is worth more than that. Most everyone’s time is worth more than that, especially yours. Yet you continue to do what you think you’re supposed to be doing in order to ‘make it’.”

It makes me sad, but it’s understandable. Because it’s what we’ve been fed all our lives: do this, do this, do this, do this, do this.  Ad nauseam.

What about going your own way? What about finding your own people? What about simply discovering who you are and making the art that you want to make?

“Here’s the deal: I want you. Not in a sexual way. I’m saying I want You. I want to know who you really ARE.  Not the selfies, but the actual Self.”

It’s not about image. It’s not about branding. It’s about who you are and your story. If all we know of you are the pictures we’ve seen and the posts we’ve read on social media, then we don’t really know YOU, now DO we?

Where does this unique voice come from? Who shaped you? Who influenced you…before They got to you?  Before the ones who you thought knew better than you told you that they knew better, and told you you could do better than who you actually truly are?

They’ve said it to me too, and they’re full of it.

“Do I want to come see you perform?? Absolutely. I want to see you perform your heart out and mean it. But I know you don’t mean it tonight, at the place you’re inviting me to on a Tuesday with one-dollar Budweisers. When you’re waiting for the opportunity to leave without losing face or standing with your fans, the “venue”.  I want to see you under the hot lights, on the quality stage, with someone running sound who knows what the hell they are actually doing, within the crowd that knows all the words to your songs, in front of the ones in back who are only there to judge you and hate on you later, and behind the ones in the middle who want to hear the song that’s going to make them rush to the front. That’s when I want to see you. I want to see you where your fans want to see you.”

There is nothing wrong with doing your own thing .  There is absolutely something wrong with doing everyone else’s thing because you’re afraid to do your own thing.

“So…where are you performing next???”

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Let he who would move the world first move himself. — Socrates

Copyright © 2018 John Kay, All rights reserved.

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