Songwriting showcases and thoughts

On Sunday, June 23rd, I will be participating in my first songwriter/solo artist showcase at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, Mass between 4pm and 8pm (I will be going on at 6:30 pm). The showcase is sponsored by a Colorado-based organization called Bridging the Music and they are actually having three showcases on Sunday afternoons during the month of June. At the end, votes will be tallied and someone will be declared winner and get advice and support on their career from this organization. I am expected to sell tickets, at least 15 of them. My ego was challenged and I took the bait but the deal seemed reasonable. So I signed on.

I was at a showcase competition last weekend in Wareham sponsored by Limelight Magazine of North Dartmouth, Mass. In the audience, not competing, mostly people from SE Mass competing to be featured on the magazine cover. It was a good competition between a variety of solo and group acts and produced a worthy winner, Grace Morrison and the RSO. What was striking to me was the second place finisher and probable third place finisher were both comprised of teenagers performing with admirable spirit and soul. I have been afraid that us older artists have not been leading by this example, but the showcase proved me wrong. Both of those acts, 21st Century Fugitives and Awesome Express (love that name) seemed to understand the importance of making a connection with the audience. 

Which is what I hope this competition on the 23rd will be about. Bridging the Music says they are about artists supporting other artists. I have to say who else would have thought about yours truly and inviting me to compete. Most of the other acts are not well known but they do have Facebook and Reverb Nation pages. The best thing this showcase can do, I think, is support the idea that songs should be written with spirit and soul in both the music and the lyrics. Yes, maybe help artists get a break or two but more importantly, encourage artists to compete in a substantive way and network with each other in the process, too. I think the Limelight Magazine showcase did that and there were a number of messages from competitors thanking Limelight for letting them participate. Success is a combination of luck and perseverance rooted in skill and talent.  It might happen now, it might happen later. Or it might not happen at all, but you don't stop trying. 

I have always been something of an idealist. Maybe you guessed that. I see my 22 year old nephew growing up as someone with strong principles and I am really happy to see that. Too many people in my generation traded in their ideals and principles for selfish and short-sighted ends. You don't want to be rigid but it is good to stand for something or you might just wind up falling for anything. 

Music-wise, standing for something translates into the kinds of songs you write and the reasons why you write them. For me, it is important to write with spirit and soul. Even when I am writing funny or satirical songs, I try not to be stupid or dull. Sometimes I craft carefully, other times not so much but the song needs to have a spark of some kind. 

I am interested to see what my competition comes up with for the 23rd. I have been able to check out a few people and at least one other person, Kayln Rose, knows how to write well and thoughtfully. I hope everyone else challenges him or herself in a similar manner. If this happens, we will all have a good time and the Bridging folks will have made a useful contribution to the music scene. 


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