I have come to realize something: My post last week was lazy.

I didn’t feel like it was lazy at the time, which was why I posted it. (For those who are just now joining the party: I decided to share an old song, recorded two years ago, for the second week of my 2015 Music Project in which I’m supposed to share “a new original song” every week. See this post if you’d like to hear that old song and/or read my reasons for posting it.)

To be fair, I was extremely tired last week and probably not thinking straight. And my intentions were in the right place, at least: I still think deciding to share that old song in the spirit of overcoming my perfectionist misgivings was a good idea. But I probably shouldn’t have shared it as part of this project.

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Because you see, the thing is, nobody does things like what I’m attempting to do. Everyone knows that even professional recording artists with all the resources disposable to them take months or even years to record an album of a dozen songs. Considering that, recording and releasing a song every week is kind of insane— especially when you’re just a regular person with a regular job.

I’m well aware that it’s insane, and I’m also well aware that people are not likely to expect much of this project. I mean really, who would expect a kindergarten teacher in a studio apartment in Japan to be able to make good music with one microphone, an electric piano, a ukulele and GarageBand (yes, that is literally my setup), and to do it every single week?

But it’s precisely because people won’t expect much that I have to consistently deliver with this thing. And if I can actually do it— if I can actually come out with a good song every week— I believe someone will have to notice. Because no one does this. That’s kind of the point.

You may wonder why it’s so important to me that people notice what I’m doing, and why I have to be so unconventional. You may think I’m vain for trying to draw attention to myself. But I believe in my music, and honestly it doesn’t even feel like it’s my music much of the time. I don’t mean to get all religious or New-Agey on you here, but it really does seem like God or the universe or the muse or some other mysterious force puts these songs into my head, and all my life that force has been telling me, “These songs are messages people need to hear, and it’s your job to transmit them.” I know that might sound a bit hokey, but it’s my best explanation for this unshakable feeling that I have to share these songs, as quickly as possible and with as many people as possible. It’s a feeling I’ve been pushing away for a long time, but with this project I’m finally embracing it.

I jumped impulsively into this project without really knowing how exactly I was going to do it, and it’s gotten off to a bit of a rough start. But this week’s song is one I’m really proud of.

In my last post I mentioned spending a lot of late nights working on music. The majority of that time was actually spent working on this particular song. Most of my songs don’t take so long to put together, but I knew this song needed a dynamic piano arrangement and I wanted to make sure to get it just right. It was a lot of painstaking work trying out different chords and rhythms and recording measure by measure at times, but I think it was worth it.

The song is called “My Way”, and I first got the idea for it when I was living in Taiwan in 2007. So this song has been floating around in my head for eight years, and I’m only just getting it out now. It’s about time, huh?

I don’t wanna shed one more tear for a lost dream

I wanna take each step with a purpose I can see

Every moment of each day, I wanna live my way

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Guys, I am EXHAUSTED. But in the best possible way!

I’ve been spending pretty much every free moment since the start of 2015 engrossed in my new music project, even to the point of forgoing sleep and downing copious amounts of coffee to stay awake long enough to finish just one more verse… and then another… and then another. (That’s not like me at all by the way. There is VERY little I’m willing to give up sleep for. Such unusually high motivation must mean I’m on the right track, don’t you think?)

At some point during one of those late nights I decided to take a quick break and organize the files in my hard drive, since the mess on my desktop was making it difficult to find things anyway. It was then that I came across some old songs I’d recorded two years ago. They were part of a group of nine songs I recorded in my dad’s studio back in the states, and although I did put a few of them quietly up on YouTube, I never put much effort into trying to share them with more people— and the rest of that group of songs never got shared at all beyond a small circle of friends and family.

That was my first serious attempt at recording, so naturally those songs had flaws— some big and some small, but all big enough in my mind to make the songs unworthy of sharing in public. So I left them buried in some obscure place on my unorganized hard drive and basically did nothing with them for two years.

Yet when I listened to them the other day with fresh ears, I found myself thinking, “Hey, these songs actually sound pretty good! Why didn’t I post them anywhere?”

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I didn’t post them because I was a perfectionist. I still am, but I’m trying not to let it hold me back anymore. Having high standards for your work isn’t a bad thing, but what’s the point if your standards are so high that nothing is ever good enough for you to share? Even if I wrote the best songs in the world, they wouldn’t mean anything if I kept them all in my head and never let anyone hear them. And even a mediocre song is worth sharing if it touches just one person.

And so, in the spirit of overcoming perfectionism, I’ve decided to share those old songs along with the new ones I’m recording for this project. I know this might seem like cheating, since I said I would share “a new song” every week… But hey, it’s new to you if you’ve never heard it before! (Also, this is my project and I get to make up the rules as I go along. So there.)

Don’t let perfectionism keep you from sharing your gifts. Otherwise you’ll end up like the poor girl (that’s me, two years ago) singing this song:

P.S.: I don’t know if anyone will notice or care, but I’ve decided to change my posting day from Thursday to Sunday (because it’s just easier to work around my day job that way), which is why it’s been a little more than a week since I last shared a song. I’m not slacking off, nope nope!

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