Reposted because I needed a reminder that it’s not about the clicks or the shares. Those are nice, but I began this blog for other reasons. Thanks to those of you who have stuck it out with me.
I’m a fairly quiet person. Always have been and always will be. I don’t speak much.
I do, however, think I’m a decent listener.
It’s a bit odd that I blog about music. I’m not a musical expert by any means, and it’s been several years since I picked up an instrument. Nonetheless, I can’t seem to stop writing, and music is my preferred topic.
So I listen. Take notes. Listen again. And listen some more.
When I sit down to write an album recommendation, it’s important to me that I let the music, not outside influences, guide the words I put to paper. I try not to care whether an artist is kind or personable. While that’s obviously something I value in everyday life, it’s not a requisite for enjoying someone’s music. Sometimes it’s just easier to assume musicians are jerks until proven otherwise. Strictly for creative purposes, of course.
Although I’m interested in learning about a musician’s history – his influences and experiences – I don’t want that to be the primary focus of my recommendations. When I search articles for background information on an artist, I try to forget any superlatives I’ve read. I don’t want my interpretation of a musician’s work to simply be a regurgitation of his press materials. Above all, I want to make sure that I am passionate about the music I recommend to others. That means actively exploring what the music means to me in a process that can be ridiculously tedious, but ultimately rewarding.
My own writing is culled from several pages of barely legible notes consisting of lyrics I want to highlight, themes I want to connect, and emotions I want to emphasize. When I get stuck, I pace, plot, and drink tea. Not necessarily in that order. I try, sometimes fruitlessly, to rearrange my thoughts and come up with a hook. Occasionally, I find the right combination of phrases to express my opinions; more frequently, I don’t.
Struggling through a musical recommendation has become fairly common. Although there are times when I feel proud of the finished output, I often click the “publish” button with uncertainty. Expressing an opinion on someone else’s work makes me nervous. I want to accurately capture what the music makes me feel and share that experience with someone else. I want to honor the work that’s been put into a recording and the people who’ve made that recording a reality. While I don’t see myself as any artist’s cheerleader, in general I won’t spend time writing about an artist whose work I dislike. I also recognize that in the main scheme of things my recommendations are not terribly important. However, if I can get just one person to listen to a musician he hasn’t yet encountered, it feels like a victory.
If I like an artist’s work, as a music fan, I need to be willing to advocate for him. If he’s willing to “put himself out there” so to speak, then as a listener, I’d better be prepared to do the same. If we want to see talented people gain recognition, then it’s up to the audience to help provide some of that recognition. Music is an ever-evolving conversation that demands responses. Goodnight Hestia exists because I want to take part in that conversation.