Making a hit vs following a dream

I watched a video of Gavin and there he tells a bit about the song ‘Spell It Out’. Somehow this certain story always makes me think about being true to yourself. He tells the same story in the AOL interview, if you have seen it. And, if you haven’t, you can see what I thought of it and the video as well HERE. Anyways. He keeps telling that the song wasn’t one he wanted to write. Or, better said, he did want to write it, but it wasn’t stylistically what he wanted it to be.

Gavin keeps telling how he thought that it can’t be a hit with such a melody, and it’s nothing the fans (?, he uses a word ‘they’) would want him to do. Nobody will listen to it, he says in the AOL interview.

In a way I can feel his pain. The struggle, you know. To do something you feel is right, but in the same time you feel like it’s not going to pay out. He cowrited the song with Andrew Frampton and I’m glad that Andrew was with him back then, because the song is beautiful. Not every song needs to be a hit. If you keep thinking about that, focusing only what will sell, that’s… It’s not only restricting the creativity, but it’s also sad.

Gavin himself says in another video from year 2008 somehow like this: “There are so many very talented musicians out there, and they make great music, feel passionate about it. And then there are those who do it just to obtain fame and success, and that is just sad.” This quotation is written down according to my memory, so it could be it wasn’t exactly like this, but the thought I got from it was this.

Though, the fame is the thing that keeps the ball rolling, in a way, you know. You can’t keep on doing your great music if you don’t get paid for it, right? But still, it breaks my heart to imagine Gavin not wanting to write a song because it will not be a hit song. I can understand why he feels that way, and why it’s kind of restraining him from doing it, but man… If you want to write only songs that are successful, you may miss out so many beautiful, delicate, really meaningful ones it’s crazy.

My writing teacher once told me that you have to write a whole lot of crap to be able to find the pearl. And for that you shouldn’t be afraid to write also crap. And sometimes, a miracle happens when working on the crap, you can find the hidden pearl, all you need to do is take it out, you know. It has been there all the time.

The thing I wonder is how do you tell what song is going to be a hit song? Can you predict that? And, if you can, why won’t you just do hit songs only? Are the hit songs surprise to the artists, or do they know or have at least a tiny hunch what will be liked?

I bet we all know those bands called ‘one hit miracles’, who had this one song that was played all over the radio channels for some time. And then there was nothing. Or, they did another album that wasn’t full of pearls but rather the other part of the work. And then they just faded away. Why does this happen? Are they just so bad musicians, or has it something to do with the whole music industry and the forces that are at work behind the scenes?

One hit won’t make you a successful artist, for sure. But not every one of your songs needs to be playing on every radio station all over the globe either. Balancing between the extremes. Doing your thing.

Gavin says it: “If you keep doing what you love, I’ll promise you, you will get good.”

In the video I watched Gavin tells how he was arguing with Andrew about Spell it Out:

G: It can’t go there.
A: It has to go there. It’s the only place it can go.
G: Yeah, but that’ll never be. That’s not what they want from me.
A: I don’t care if it’s a hit. I just want to write great music.

And it made me smile, a bit, and then stop again and think. I can use this conversation as an example of my own feelings. That could be me arguing with me, you know. That’s me with G. 

I have to go with him. It’s the only place I can go. That’ll never be, we can never connect. But I don’t care. That’s the only place I can go. I have to go with him.

And you know what. I love Spell it Out.


So, Gavin, please be true to yourself. Do your experiments, diversify, brake every rule there is to brake, but please, be true to yourself. Don’t hide your beautiful, amazing, touching thoughts behind the hit songs. I don’t need hit songs, I need you to believe that music is enough.

Love ya,
-R

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