Yesterday I found myself wasting nearly an hour looking for a photo suitable for a blog post. The thing was I had a photo all along, but I was concerned how some people might read in to it bit too much. It was a photo of me in the old library in the Trinity college here in Dublin. The blog post was about trying to be the best person you can be, you can read it HERE. I got self-conscious and worried people would confuse by trying to be better with the need to go to college, where as the picture actually just captured me visiting places, spending more time doing things for my self.
So I spent an hour looking for another photo. Yes, and hour! Probably not the best use of my time. But it got me thinking how we worry about what other people think sometimes too much. Even more so, do we let this get on the way of our art? I wanted to use this photo for the blog post, but let my own self doubt get on the way. At the end of the day, most people probably don’t read in to the photo much at all. After an hour I decided to go with my first instinct and used the photo. And you know what? As soon as I posted the blog post I was not worried anymore. It was out there, I was happy with the post and the way it looked, now it was time to move on.
But now I think how many great things I must have scrapped just because I was worried about what people might think? Sure thing we all get bad reviews from time to time, it is impossible to please everybody. Even more so, you should not try to please everybody. Ever wondered why some of the top 40 music sounds so bland? Ever wondered why they are up there and not some of the artists you feel very passionate about? There is a reason for it. What major labels are trying to do is appeal to as many people as possible. This means the music cannot be extremely specific, otherwise it will not have the wide-spread appeal. Sure there are a lot of gems that get through as well, but that is not what the major labels are interested in these days. They are big companies with big overheads, and since the sakes numbers have fallen in the past two decades, they are not willing to take any risks. So they play it safe, and bland.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. it has helped to create an environment where many people go to look for more specific music bit deeper than just the charts. This has made the independent music scene to bloom like never before, in fact I don’t think you would be reading this blog post without this turnaround in the industry.
So I think us fighting in the trenches should not worry too much about what others think. I think being true to our selves is much more important. And often if you do that, people start to follow and support you for being you. So if you start holding things back because you are worried what others think, are you not just diluting your art? Are you kind of trying to do what the major labels are doing?
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE