There’s a word in the music industry that intrigues me: hits. Call it what you want – a smash, a banger – a potential hit song is judged on its ability to sell. Now, before I dig myself a grave, I want to say that there are many creatives that love the process of crafting hits. It is an art form and it is really difficult to do; I have a lot of respect for them. With that said, the intention of creating music that is accessible and profitable makes me want to orally purge last night’s Chipotle. I’m not saying its wrong, I’m not judging anyone, I’m simply saying that if someone ever told me I need a hit song I’d involuntarily puke on them. Thankfully it hasn’t happened.
Now, although no one has asked me to, that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried. It’s hard as an artist in today’s industry. We want to make a living doing what we love, and for a lot of us, what we hear on the radio is far from anything we’d ever create. We become jaded into thinking that in order to make it, we have to conform to that sound. There was a time when I felt that way, and in my desperate and failed attempts to write a hit, I learned why I’d never create music with that intention again.
Writings a hit is like creating in a box. There’s this whole world of expression outside the box, but it’s too experimental and the labels and teams who invest in the promotion of these songs, as well as some of the established artists who rely on them, don’t want to take that risk. Inside the box is the radio format – the simple and short arrangement, the watered down lyrics, the “safe” production, the imitation of yesterday’s hit and the room filled with writers trying to express themselves under such limitations. Don’t get me wrong; it can be fun, but music is my way of expressing myself with no limitations and expectations and I’d rather get my fun in playing flag football and laser tag. If I were trying to make a lot of money, I would have been an economics major. (I know almost nothing about Econ but I really do like it. I’m actually taking a free class on Coursera.com right now called “Sustainable Development.” This site is unbelievable, a great place to learn what you want for free.)
Anyways, to end this, I want to thank you guys so much for all your support so far. All the love and attention I’m getting from Remembering Myself – a song that came from such an unrestricted place – helps confirm that artists can be experimental and authentic and still connect with people. I’ve received some of the most beautiful messages from some of you, and for that, I give you my promise that I will always create music freely.
So much love.
—September 18, 2015