I was just thinking about a conversation I had with someone ten years ago. I was messing around with my keyboard one day, and someone said to me, "You know, so-and-so has been working on getting into the music industry for about fifteen years now and she hasn't gotten anywhere." She went on to basically say that it's near impossible, and lead into the discussion about having a Plan B.
Now, the artist she was talking about is a singer/songwriter who I am not personally familiar with, so I said, "Is she any good?" The answer was, "She's OK." So I said, "Would you buy her CD and listen to it yourself?" And the answer was "No." And I said, "There you go." She laughed and nodded. Point made. Conversation over. :) I don't know the girl, I still haven't heard her music, and I'm not passing judgment on her--but I'll bet she's more focused on "making it" than on making a real connection with her listeners. Success used to mean getting a record deal, and maybe at the time of the conversation that was still true. But in 2009, success means making that real connection.
It's true that there is oversaturation in the industry nowadays--the industry is flipped on its head, there are people coming out of the woodwork everywhere creating music because you can now do it on the cheap and you don't need a label or even actual studio time! You can do it all from the comfort of your own home. Even if you do go get some time in a studio and even get yourself a label deal, you still might end up with a product that nobody really connects with--and even the big successes frequently end up broke.
The one thing that has always been first and foremost in my mind with this dream is WHO I AM. My "hook" so to speak is not based solely on the sound of my voice. It's not based solely on the craft of my lyrics. It's not based solely on my face or my body or my style. It's not based solely on who I am inside. It's all of those things put together, and it is AUTHENTIC. When I write a song, it's not coming from a place of Hey let's see what's hot right now and try to emulate that. Certainly I have found my own style by emulating the greats, but I got comfortable in my own skin and what I do now is ME. And I think (and hope!) that's what makes the difference.
I'm not out to get one million people to buy my album and then have only one thousand of them connect with it. I'd rather have ONE of you who really really feels it, than a billion who are just following a trend. Why? Because most of those would fall off by the second album or EP anyway. I'm looking for a real audience for some real music. I want to share what's in my soul, and it's not to make money (though I could certainly use some more of it!), and it's not to gain fame (though I'm comfortable enough in my own skin to handle that too). It's about the CONNECTION. And if you're reading this, then we have already made one.