Well it’s been quite an interesting time in the world over the last little while. The Olympics have been taking my attention away from music and everyone else’s I guess. I do love watching sport and I often wonder what it is that is so addictive about sport on TV.
Certainly my lovely wife doesn’t share my passion, in fact she uses my Sydney Swans habit to have an afternoon nap. She crashes out after the first siren and wakes up to me singing “Cheer Cheer……….”
With sport I think it’s the immediacy and the unpredictability of the outcome. The twists and turns, the danger and the heartbreak and the win/lose outcome that keeps watching or playing sport so vital and alive for us.
After 40 years of music performing, I think The Bushwackers still have some of that edgy vibe when we are performing. I think we keep that dangerous ‘anything could happen’ feeling going thanks mainly to that crazy lead singer of mine with his suits and his on-stage conversation which could go anywhere. Actually I don’t think it takes very much imagination to keep the whole performance having the immediacy of conversation.
I have always believed that people come and see you for the music you’re playing but they also fall in love with you because of what you say to them in between the music. Or in some cases what you don’t say to them. Cheesy stage patter is never a good thing but tall tales from your actual life work very well, especially if you get good at it and make it funny and unpredictable. Audiences liked to be mildly shocked and surprised and they will respond by forming a strong bond with you.
The other thing that makes sport such a compelling thing to watch is that the athletes are so fantastic at what they do and that’s always a great thing to watch. Consider this: An olympian athlete starts out competing at school, gets good, gets to be the best in school, then district, region, state, national levels with all the training, injury and heartbreak of frequent failures. They might get to the olympic trials at home to try out for one or two spots in the team to go. THEN: off to the Olympics and compete in heats and then if they are amazing they make it through to a final. THEN: maybe they get a place, maybe even a first place and yoo-hoo the public thinks “great, another Gold Medal”.
I have a huge admiration for these people who work hard and are dedicated to their chosen talent. Let me ask you, “Are you working as hard as these people? Do you train as much as them, do you accept failure and quickly make the necessary changes to your regime to achieve success? Do you rise at 5am on a frosty winters day to sit down and practise your instrument, voice or songwriting skills? Probably not so much. I know I don’t, and yet don’t we expect ‘Olympian’ results from our work?
The truth is that the truly successful musicians and artists among us do work harder than the rest to achieve their goals. They invest their money, effort and their time in the thing they love to do and waddyaknow they achieve the results they want. The rest of us sit around and say “hah……….overnight success!!”
It was an inspiring time in London and the lesson of commitment and inspiration is there for us all to see and feel. By the way, try doing all of that with a physical or mental disability as the Paralympic team are about to do. Now there’s inspiration!!
Curiously, I had an Olympic moment myself in 2000. A friend of mine called up out of the blue and asked if I wanted to do a bit of writing. I said “sure” as you do. The job was to write a theme song for the Paralympic Opening Ceremony. The title was already chosen ‘The Fire Within’ and I had to come up with an idea and some music and so on. I had a lot of help from my friend Peter Winkler and we finished up writing the song and having it be the ‘big song’ of the Ceremony. I sat in the stand and saw my name on the big screen come up as the writer as a 5000 person choir sang the song with Renee Geyer, Nathan Cavalieri and Jeff StJohn in front of 110,000 people in the stadium and a 2 billion audience on TV. A truly surreal experience.
My point in telling you this is that I had to rely on my training and technique to get through all the stages of writing that song. Had I just relied on ‘inspiration’ hitting me at the right time I might still be sucking a pencil now and missed my moment completely. So download my book of techniques and tips on Songwriting if you haven’t already and think about being an Olympian of the music Industry. As with everything: talent coupled with hard work, training and courage will be your guide.
Thanks for reading my blog. I love writing this for you and I hope you are enjoying my ramblings.
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- Know who you are and where you want to be and write for an audience.
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- Use the ‘one minute rule’ get your audience engaged in the first minute of the song.
- Get your audience to ‘feel it’. What emotion do you want your audience to feel?