For the past four weeks I’ve been listening back to different mixes of my upcoming album, “Seafarer” (release date TBA soon). At moments I’ve literally danced in the bathroom brimming with a kind of manic enthusiasm, at other moments I’ve stared out the window calculating the music’s chance in today’s climate with a kind of morose acceptance.
I suppose only one question actually matters – what is success when it comes to art? What is success when it comes to expression?
Society would tell us, with the popularity of attractive individuals on Instagram that success is how beautiful you are and how large your ripple spreads into the environment. How many followers do you have? What’s your reach?
I look at it differently.
Yesterday I paced by a river and threw a stick into the water. The stick floated and went downstream.
I then skipped a rock, and it sank into the depths below.
I like to imagine, and perhaps its only a consequence of my lack of enthusiasm when it comes to self-promotion on social media, that success with music is not about the size of the ripple, but rather it is about how deep below the surface the music goes. Anything can influence the surface of the water. Bugs dart to and fro atop the water all the time. Aye, but what goes below? What sinks to the bottom and rests there beside all of the other things we fail to express? What comforts the deep? And harmonizes with the unseen?
In this crazy world, where information inundates us and pummels our beliefs into ash, where love comes and goes in rapid succession, where societal norms are constantly fluctuating and talent and skill are programmed to succeed perhaps below the surface is where I’d like to stay.
I had a dream once that I was walking in a river and came across an absolutely beautiful stone.
Perhaps this is real success with art: To give what you are and not what you wish to be seen as. To be loved by those who stumble upon you. Not to force your way before them. To be held by those who wish to reach.
Aye, this is success.
Keep creating friends.