One day my cell phone rang.
It doesn’t ring very often because very few people have the number.
I didn’t recognize the calling number, and there was no Caller ID name listed, so I figured it was a random sales call and declined it.
But a minute later, the phone rang again.
Again, I declined it.
But a few minutes later, I got notified of a message.
Curious, I played the voice mail.
I was shocked at what I heard.
It was a slightly muffled conversation between two people, a man and a woman, bad mouthing my music.
It was like being a fly on the wall, listening to a couple bash your first born.
Specifically, they were quite openly thrashing my first singer-songwriter album, Strut!, from 2012.
“It’s trash!” the woman said.
“It’s really garbage!” the man said.
I was shocked.
I recognized the woman’s voice.
I thought she was a friend.
Their entire conversation lasted several minutes.
Since the woman had “butt dialed” me by accident, she didn’t have a clue that their exchange had been recorded.
But it was.
I’m not sure how you would feel if you overheard people you know trashing something you created out of love and passion, but I was confused.
I reached out to my music support team, my friends who helped create that first album, and told them what happened.
They were angry.
They wanted to call the woman and give her a piece of their mind.
I didn’t want to do that.
I wanted to process the Twilight Zone-ish experience and see what I could learn.
As I meditated on the bizarre event, I realized a few things –
Of course, I wouldn’t call someone and tell them my opinion of their books or music or them, but realizing that not everyone loves me or my work, while baffling, was somehow comforting.
And then I thought about all the good things regarding my first singer-songwriter album.
For example –
So, obviously, my music must not be “trash.”
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but what is?
And I admit that my later albums – such as One More Day (a bestseller that sold out almost instantly after it was released and includes Grammy nominated singer Ruthie Foster on one hypnotic track) – reveal a more polished singer-songwriter, but I doubt that the first album was that bad.
Not everyone loves Elvis, the Beatles, Lady Gaga, or Neil Diamond – and those people are legends – but not everyone likes any of the hundreds of thousands of new, alternative, jazz or any of a staggering amount of music coming out today, either.
So, what are you or I going to do?
Let the critics win?
Mark Twain wrote in his autobiography –
“I believe that the trade of critic, in literature, music, and the drama, is the most degraded of all trades, and that it has no real value–certainly no large value…However, let it go. It is the will of God that we must have critics, and missionaries, and congressmen, and humorists, and we must bear the burden.” – Mark Twain
I’m with Twain, but I didn’t get to the same conclusion overnight.
All of this was a day-long process.
It took me more than a few minutes to get clarity.
After I realized that what I was given was an opportunity to clear up some limiting beliefs I had about approval, I was free to turn the event into a teaching lesson for you and me both, hence this post.
As I wrote in my book, The Attractor Factor, I pulled a TIISG: Turn It Into Something Good.
As you pursue your dreams and goals, you will probably encounter a person or two that doesn’t approve.
You have to continue forward anyway.
There will always be critics.
Their job is easy: put you or your project down.
Your job is harder but more rewarding:
Allow them their opinion, and continue towards your vision.
After all, everyone with a butt has an opinion.
And if you’re really worried about being butt dialed a bad review, just turn off your phone.
PS – If you want to see for yourself how bad my music is, go review all 15 albums I’ve created over the last 4 years at All Healing Music.
I’m living my “bucket list” dream of being a musician by recording my fifth singer-songwriter album (my eleventh as a music artist).
The songs on this new album are apparently better than ever, as legendary musicians are saying the lyrics are “perfect” and “hypnotic” and “every song is a favorite.”
Drummer Joe Vitale – yes, he has the same name as me – who is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has created over 200 albums, with over 50 being gold (and many platinum) records – asked me how I came up with the songs for this new album.
Here’s what I told him:
I have an intention to turn one of my messages into a song. In other words, I have positive messages – the ones I spend entire books writing about – and I want to morph them into songs people want to hear.
I have a Cuban cigar (now legal) and relax. Anything could help, as long as it relaxes me, and lets my mind drift. This mind wandering is what allows me to receive a song to match my intention.
I pick up an acoustic guitar — usually the one Tony Nobles made for Ray Wylie Hubbard that I later bought – and just ad lib a song. I let it be nonsense or sense. I try not to judge too early. I want the song to come to me, from the muse or my mind, or the dance of both.
I then turn on the voice recorder on my iPhone and record what is coming. This may be an entire song, a few chords, lyrics, or other snippet. Doesn’t matter. I record it.
I then transcribe the song, so I have the words on paper for me to tweak or approve. I usually spend a lot of time bringing the message into rhyme and polished form. I’ve learned you can polish inspiration.
From there, it’s a matter of living with the songs and seeing if they take more refined shape and that I really like them.
After that, it’s time to get my band together – Daniel Barrett, drummer Joe Vitale, Glenn Fukunaga and Guitar Monk Mathew Dixon – and see how they can help me arrange the music to fit the message. (Sometimes I have guest artists, as well. Grammy nominated singer Ruthie Foster sings on my new album.)
The result is a Hypnotic Song.
And because they are generally three minutes long, the songs are like 3-minute self-help books.
My new album – the one we just completed recording – contains the best songs I’ve ever written so far.
From rock to jazz to poetry to sing-a-long, there’s something for everyone.
It’s called “One More Day: Life Lessons in Hypnotic Song.”
You can pre-order it at One More Day.
I’m sharing this with you today for a few reasons:
1. I want you to go for your dreams, too.
Whatever your secret positive desire, you deserve to experience it. You’ll never know if you don’t try. Do it. Now.
2. I want you to set intentions and trust that inspiration will come to you as a result.
While intentions can be limitations, they can also be directives. Use them as starting points to “call forth” something great.
3. I want you to be fearless.
Being a musician in my sixties is a wild jump for me, yet it is not only working, but working flawlessly. My music is well received, my songs and singing are getting better and better, and I’m having a blast. Had I not faced the early doubts and fears, I would have missed this incredible life.
Sing your song, dance your dance, live your life.
Pre-order the new album “One More Day: Life Lessons in Hypnotic Song” by clicking right here.
PS – I posted this brief video on Facebook and 12,000 people viewed it there. It’s a sneak peek at a song off the new album, with me describing the depth of it, and how it moves me. See http://youtu.be/xiELqAr1Exk or you can see it on the album site right here.