The president of the United States. This is one of the most coveted jobs in the USA. It is a good paying job but their are jobs that pay better. CEO's of big companies, Warren Buffet, professional athletes like Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, and then you throw in movie stars and artists like Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney. The president of the USA should make more than an athlete. He has so much more responsibility.
Presidents don't go from college straight to the White House. They usually have attended college. Have been successful as a lawyer, a businessman, or as an actor like Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump was a successful businessman other presidents had successful military careers. Many have worked their way up through the political world. Starting out as a state legislator, a senator, and then a president. The point of all this is to recognize that it takes many small victories and goals to reach our big goals.
In 2009 I entered my first songwriting contest. It was the Walnut Valley Bluegrass festival in Winfield, KS. The price to enter is ten dollars a song. I usually enter three songs a year. The prize for winning is getting to play your winning song on a main stage at the festival. You can pick if you want to play on a Thursday or a Saturday.
In my music room I have a bulletin board. It has pictures of family members that need to be updated. Pictures that were take ten years ago. I has birthday cards, Country Stampede tickets, a country stampede wristband, a family reunion picture of my Dad and his two sisters, a birthday invitation to my grandson, Aiden's fifth birthday party, a picture of my grandson, Titus holding a sign saying Thank you, and an envelope from Walnut Valley song contest dated 2009. It is filled with evaluations from all the songs I sent in.
The first year I sent in three songs. The titles were Living the Dream, Blessed, and Kibbles n Bits. I remember playing all of these songs at the coffee shop. Living the dream is about my daughter Heather and teaching school. Blessed is about living at the Hick's block as a divorced parent. Kibbles n Bits is about how my dog died and why I felt responsible for her death.
I had some issues with my early songs. Here are a few things that I needed to work on. Need more careful editing. The second verse is odd- I don't understand the final line. Need to be consistent on the rhyme scheme. If you rhyme lines two and four on the first verse, then you will need to use that rhyme scheme on all of your verses. There were some encouraging words mixed in like- it made me smile, or a sweet slice of life and very honest, and a nice song overall. I needed someone to tell me that my songs weren't where they needed to be. I don't want to be an American Idol contestant on national TV and learn for the first time that I can't sing. I appreciated the honest and open feedback.
We can't get this honest and open feedback from our friends and family. They are our support system. They are our encouragers. They believe in us when nobody else does. We need them in our corner. We can't do life without them but songwriting evaluations isn't what they do for a living. My Dad could tell me how to spend my money wisely but he doesn't know what makes a great song on the radio.
In 2010 I took a step backward in my songwriting journey. The two songs were Working Man Blues and a Love Song for Me. Working Man Blues was about playing a song and my boss coming to hear me play. The song I am playing when my boss comes in the door is a song about him. We don't want our boss to hear us complaining about work after work. One of the positive comments was I like the sarcasm you express toward your boss. It resonates with me. The other song is a sarcastic song also. Definitely not my best songwriting year.
In 2011 I turned in three songs. The three songs were Justin Case, Late night DJ, and Superman cried. Definitely and improvement over the previous year. Justin Case. This is the song that I performed at my first open mic and the Bluebird Café. It is about a guy trying to pick up a girl. The catchy part of the song is the guys name. He shakes her hand and says,
Chorus- Justin Case you every get lonely
Justin Case you ever need a friend
Justin Case you need someone to talk to.
Don't forget, my name is Justin Case.
In the second verse you are introduced to the girl in the song. She comments on his pick up line and then she tell Justin her name. Her name is Annie Time. She sings the chorus,
Annie Time you every get lonely
Annie Time you every need a friend.
Annie Time you need someone to talk to
Don't forget my name is Annie Time.
It wasn't a winner but it was an improvement from the previous year. The rhyming mistakes were missing. The comment- It is reminiscent of a classic country tune and a wonderful turn of a lyric. It is easier to hear praises than negative comments but I learn more from my mistakes.
Late night DJ is a song about a Dj playing her favorite songs. There were some things that still needed fixing on this song. More careful editing could take this song to another level. Didn't like a line about red shoes. I agree. The red shoes line needed to go.
Superman Cried. I love using Superman in a song. Superman in the first verse is my Dad. I tell the story about my Dad hearing that his father had passed away. It was the first time I saw my Dad cry. Superman cried. The second verse is the story in the Bible about Jesus and Lazarus. Lazarus was sick and he died. Jesus could have gotten there sooner and maybe Lazarus would not have died, but he didn't. He was sad. His heart was broke. Lazarus's sisters were hurting from the pain of losing their brother. The shortest verse in the Bible is Jesus cried. Superman cried.
I still had a few rhyming challenges. Here is an example, The Son of God was he. It should read, He was the Son of God. Guess what? Son of God didn't rhyme. I needed the he on the end. Lyrics need to be conversational. We need to talk to everyday language. If you are writing a gospel song don't throw in thee's an thou's. That is not how we talk today. It might have worked one hundred years ago.
Three years down and not a winner yet. How many years would this process take? I was improving but still not there. This is a tough stage to be in. This is when we start to get impatient. Would I ever win? Maybe, or maybe not. Next year, I'll try again. 2012 here I come.