“Capable songwriter, just not contemporary”
I started writing this post while my friend, Joni, was fixing me lunch. I had to take two Excedrin first. Joni cooked me some lunch, and treated me like royalty.
What am I feeling after a big meeting with an established songwriter/producer, Jud Friedman? I can certainly say that “time stood still” today. For a brief moment, I actually lived for something that quickly went by – and then I had to figure out the rest of my life. That being said, I think I feel a combination of things. I’ll be honest, I was a little deflated that I didn’t sign a million dollar contract. My husband didn’t help that one, because when I called him afterwards, he asked me if he was able to quit his job! Everything that I was told today, I intuitively knew already – so there were really no surprises.
What was told? Well, that the music business is very difficult to “break into.” Duh! That makes sense. Especially, now that there are so many software programs that can make almost anything sound good. I was also told that it is not easy to make any money, and it will cost money to make a great demo. And with file sharing, there isn’t even that much money to be made. I already knew that, too.
Okay, so here is the good part. His compliment was, “You understand lyrics, and musically your work is complex and beautiful. You have far more than is needed, actually.” He said that my songs are definitely dated (70’s), but he also felt that I would be quite capable of writing something more contemporary. Although he appreciated my musicality, he said on a disk I wouldn’t get far with my type of music.
I performed only four songs; he asked me to pick my best. I felt that I did an adequate job, considering how many years it has been since I’ve performed. He made me feel comfortable since his first words were, “Most performers would say it was harder to play in a room like this, than on a stage in front of far more people.”
I was fascinated as he explained how today’s music is different. He said that my songs were “linear,” moving along in a certain flow. The more contemporary songs use fewer chords, and build on it.
He picked up a guitar and went on to play a riff from my song called “You Are My Wings.” He sang my chorus, and expanded the last line. He told me to totally eliminate my verse, and make the chorus the new verse. He used a single line to create a new chorus, with a lot of repetition. It was all so interesting!
He further clarified his explanation of how to change my song by demonstrating with one of his own songs. It was inspiring. He shared with Joni and I his most recent song. His lyrics were incredibly heartfelt and poignant; it was a love song that talked about not being hurt by your lover and of being fragile.
After putting the lyrics up on his computer, he then played the demo. It was enough to knock your socks off. I felt so honored that he shared it. I’m sure it will end up being another Oscar nominated song. Joni and I looked at each other and we were simply blown away.
He never gave any cues that it was time for me to leave. I just decided that I had taken up enough of his precious time, and shook his hand. He said he would be glad to listen to anything I might rework and share with him.
Am I going to do something new, something contemporary? That’s something I’m not sure of. I love what I’m doing now, and it’s certainly wonderful for me to make time for myself. However, this whole “career change” issue is one that I am often struggling with, and I would rather not add any further pressure on myself. I’m actually not sure that I want to rework any of my songs. I might never even write another song. However, someday I would love to record a demo, if only to know how it might sound to have all those extra touches. The fact that it is a matter of expense doesn’t faze me. I’ll know when that time comes.
I am especially appreciative of my childhood friend, Joni. While typing in her den, I lamented that we hadn’t taken a picture with Jud! She said we could “go back,” but instead we did the next best thing; her son took a picture of us both on her front porch. She did cook me a fabulous lunch.
I can count on my fingers the times we’ve been together since high school. Years and years have gone by without our seeing or speaking with each other. Today was an absolutely special time to connect once again with my childhood buddy and form a fantastic memory!
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