Monday, September 10, 2012
The “B” Side of Music
Almost nothing great happens in this world without someone first imagining it, and dreams are the gateway to imagination.
Dream big, live large, hang tough, take charge
Pop the top right off of your life, take a long deep swig
Forget about those little dreams you’re dreaming
from Dream Big by Randy Brown 2007
This month’s lyric is from one of my own songs. The chorus of the song is spoken by an unnamed/unseen higher power who lights up the night sky as he/she speaks to the protagonist in the song. Like so many things that happen in songs I write, I have no clear idea where the words and sentiments come from. They often magically appear when I least expect it. Fact is, I often channel great ideas but seldom seem to follow them. However, with the announcement of my retirement from regular employment and the taking on of the mantle of a full-time musician, I am attempting to follow my own advice for a change. Hence this month’s subject.
Dream Big by Randy Brown
My decision to retire from my day job a few months ago and pursue music full time has been an eye-opening and sometimes a wild roller coaster ride. The old adage says, “Be careful what you wish for.” Well, I am here to tell you, be careful what you state out loud to the universe. Because words have power, especially when put out there along with a little action.
I told my readers and all those around me that would listen about my plans. Then I followed that up with some actions that indicated I was serious and, viola, instant dream fulfillment. I dreamed the dream, stated it out loud to anyone who would listen, and then acted like it was already true. The response was jaw dropping! Suddenly, it was no longer a dream but a reality.
I want to make it clear that I am not talking about a miracle here – no water to wine or loaves and fishes stuff. Just a simple change of direction, intensity and self-perception on my part. But it sure as heck feels different. Isn’t how you feel about yourself and what you do the real goal here? Oh, I admit money and accolades would be great, but now I trust that some of both are headed my way. How much? I can’t say, but I am positive whatever comes is enough.
Too often I have settled for baby steps in my music career instead of raring back and taking the giant steps I secretly wanted to take. Why? Fear of failure has always held me back. But when I really think about it, even failure is a kind of success in that I know how not to approach that challenge upon next encounter. Little dreams or goals are great, but unless I am using them as precursors or milestones to my big dream, then I believe I am missing something important in my art.
As I have mentioned in past columns, comfort and art are a noxious combination. Art is not about what you are comfortable with but is instead about your truth, whatever it might be. Dreaming big can be quite uncomfortable. It almost always requires me to get out of my comfort zone and to sidle up to someone, something or some concept that scares me. When faced with those feelings, I try to remember what Rainer Maria Rilke said in Letters To A Young Poet, which in my opinion is a must-read book for every artist: “Our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasures.”
Fear is our subconscious telling us we are getting uncomfortably close to the truth. If I let fear win, I will never know the real truth about myself. That is why the very best artists out there are fearless. They are willing to risk it all to tell their truth: embarrassment, criticism, and how it might be received by those close to them or by those who hold sway over them in some way.
Truth trumps everything else when it comes to art. Real, honest art cannot be denied. Now admittedly, it can be ignored or destroyed, but it simply cannot be denied. Never forget that, at it’s very core, art is truth. I can’t describe great art to you, but I know when I see, hear, feel or taste it, and so do you. If only you will open your heart and mind to it.
Dreaming big means giving yourself permission to imagine the very best version of your art and yourself. Now, I imagine that may seem dangerously close to fantasy to you, but I promise you that nothing truly great in this world has ever been accomplished without first invoking imagination. Imagination is the drawing board of success. It is where all the “what ifs” are turned first into “could bes” and then finally into something real. Almost nothing great happens in this world without someone first imagining it, and dreams are the gateway to imagination.
So, I will close this month with the bridge from “Dream Big,” which also just happens to be an exact quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Whatever you can do or dream, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” So forget about all those little dreams and goals, and rare back and dream big. Take chances and follow your wildest ideas, your craziest dreams and, who knows, you may finally find your niche and subsequently the full power and joy of your art.
As always, thanks for reading, and if you have comments, suggestions or criticisms about this or any of my columns, feel free to email them to me: email@example.com
If you ever simply get curious about what the heck this rambling old man does, then go to my website, listen to a few songs and let me know what you think.
See you next issue.
Randy Brown is a full-time singer/songwriter living in East Texas and has been involved with many sides of the music business over the years, from being a sideman, a sound man, touring songwriter, operator of a venue, and a recording studio owner/engineer. He dreams big and lives large but when it comes to taking a long deep swig, he likes to take a tiny sip first before committing. You never know when stuff will go bad and, in his opinion, there is nothing worse than spitting in public.