As songwriters many of you will look at the word desire and think:
“Brilliant, it rhymes with fire and higher!”
Yes, it does and no, you are not allowed to do that any more.
Desire is possibly one of the most important words in the music business. It is the difference between fame and obscurity, success and failure, growth and stagnation.
My humble beginnings were as a busker on the streets of Norwich, waiting to be ‘discovered’ followed by a period of playing London wine bars and pubs. After years of having next to nothing I got a ‘grown-up’ job as a salesman, started earning some decent money, later becoming a European marketing manager. I had a nice company car, mortgage and money in my pocket.
Then one night, lying in a hotel bed in Milan I had an epiphany. I’d been thinking about my poor Dad who had died at 58 in my Mother’s arms four years earlier. He had always been a wonderful artist, with paintings hung in the Royal Academy as a young man, but had to forego his passion for a steady job when three children came along. After we had all left home he resumed his beautiful watercolour painting and once again started to make a name for himself, only to have it snatched away from him before he reached the success he truly deserved.
In a moment of clarity in Milan, it struck me that life is too unpredictable not to follow your heart, and I cried.
They say the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. That was when I found out why. I returned to the UK, handed back the company car keys and walked out of the office to pursue a career in music.
From that moment on, every ounce of me strived for success, but it was a long, circuitous route and there were times when I didn’t have a penny. I often doubted both myself and the journey I was on.
Every time I considered quitting, I said to myself
“Give it one more year and see how it goes.”
Twenty years on, I’m a multi platinum songwriter, producer and musician. I’ve worked with some amazing artists and writers, and have sold over seven million records globally.
I still work in my studio well into the small hours of the morning, still attend networking nights and now run workshops and retreats for aspiring writers. I do all of this because I still have what I uncovered in Milan that night.
Last Tuesday at Help Musicians UK I listened to aspiring artists pitching their projects to a panel who had to decide who would be eligible for funding. It was tough because of all of the candidates had shown an incredible amount of initiative in finding out about the program, writing a pitch and delivering it to four complete strangers.
This is the sort of determination I love to see.They wanted something and they reached out for it when others didn’t.
All of the people in the music business who are successful are so because they went further than the next person, worked the extra hour, took another chance and most of all they did not quit. Why?
How much do you have?
(And no, you still can’t rhyme it with fire and higher.)
Find out more about Martin and his work at www.thesong.co.ukBack