One of my favorite all time movie scenes is in School of Rock where Jack Black discovers that one of his students has a cool song idea. His response is absolutely classic.
“No more secret songs, man.”
I had a friend in Nashville that always complained about everything on the radio. He had a chip on his shoulder because he was more talented than anything else he was hearing. And I couldn’t disagree with him – the guy was a great singer, a great player, and had a real knack for writing melodies.
The problem? He had absolutely nothing to show for it.
I am always blown away during the first couple episodes of American Idol. It never fails – a kid gets up there. They show the backstory about the proud family and how this is their real moment to shine. And then the kid starts singing, and it is atrocious.
You’ve got to get out of your own head. You’ve got to get your garage band out of the garage. You’ve got to get some real feedback from real people, or you’re just spinning your wheels.
And it’s hard. Because it never ends up being as good as it is in your head. Fortunately, things rarely end up being as bad as the nightmare scenarios we create either.
The thing is, people just aren’t paying that much attention. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s just that they have their own lives to lead, bills to pay, kids to feed, and jerk boss to deal with. They can’t pay attention to what you’re doing too. This actually works to your advantage: you can hone your craft in public, just under the radar, and then make a splash when the time is right.
You can do two things. Stay in your bedroom and then go on Idol and get laughed at, or you can start getting your stuff out there. If you want to write, do like I’m doing and post to a blog every day. If you want to sing, go to an open mic or volunteer to sing at church. Or heck, stay in your bedroom and record a video of you singing and post it to YouTube. Let technology be your friend.
But no more secret songs, man.