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Success

I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing
than a hundred people’s ninth favorite thing

–Jeff Bowen

 

There are many paths to success– there just aren’t any straight ones. Point A to point B doesn’t exist in my line of work, just as I suspect it probably doesn’t in many of your chosen vocations. There are no programs, no directions, and no rules when it comes to finding success in the music business. Want to put on ten pounds of lean muscle? Bet there’s a good diet and training regiment that can get you there. Looking to become fluent in Italian? If you put in the time, no problem. Hungry? I’ve got a good recipe for you– seven easy steps and you’ve got a pizza on your hands. In an industry that is among the least meritocratic on earth (after all, how could it be?) there is only one comprehendible path to success, and even that is a bit of a compromise: come up with your own definition of success (and come up with secondary, tertiary, quaternary, quinary, sentry, and septenary definitions, too**).A pair of open and willing ears.
The purchase of an album.
Someone taking the time to share my music with their friends.
The food on my table that I share with my wife and my son.
The fact that I get to travel all over the country on the backs of these little compositions that spring from my imagination.It’s a shortened list because you don’t have all day to read this newsletter, but that’s success. That’s making it.

One person, one song, one show at a time. Boiling what it means to succeed down to its bare essence means that I never have to compromise my vision to reach a broader audience. It means that I get to write free of the worry that a creative chance taken might not sell as many Coors Lights at some bar as I did the last time I played there. Over time, it’s come to mean that the people who connect with my music aren’t looking to me to set the tone of their Friday night– they’re bringing me along with them over the long haul– for years.

And if that’s only true for nine people rather than a hundred?

That’s success nine times over.

I was fortunate to play my songs for a lot of willing ears over the last month, and I am eternally grateful that I have the chance to do what I love.

-Drew Kennedy

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  1. The Best Things We Said in 2015 | Galleywinter - Thu, December 17, 2015

    […] Drew Kennedy redefined the meaning of success:  “Success” […]