I was told that by the time the record label finally said yes to Smoky Robinson's "Tears of a Clown," he had been rejected the prior 68 times. Similarly many sports teams and literary publishers took passes on Tom Brady, Julia Child and J.K. Rowling, all of whom have gone on to not only succeed but in many ways define their generation in their chosen field. I think of them when I get yet another "thanks but no thanks" from promoters, booking agents, talent buyers, bands, managers, contest judges and others who seem to hold the keys to the music industry kingdom.
I recently opened for the Paperboys at Seattle's wonderful Triple Door, and with our combined draw we sold out the show. I have been asked a number of times how I was able to get my foot in the door with this great band and stellar venue. Quite simply it boils down to persistence. Through sheer diligence I had gotten to the point where the talent buyer at the Triple Door was willing to consider me as an opener (after I had given him my sales pitch as an artist with a Seattle-area fanbase) if the right gig came along. Yet as I have reached this stage a number of times with similar venues, it often happens that by the time I see the name of a band appear on the calendar, the evening's lineup is already set. I am still learning about how to involve myself in these earlier discussions. But this time, I went straight to the Paperboys (nearly every band has contact info on their website, and some will even respond), gave them my sales pitch, and we made it happen.
I remain convicted that writing songs, playing the guitar, singing, and performing are among the things I do best in the world. As a result, I strive to remain clear that my pursuit of life as a professional musician is a key component to my life's larger purpose. With that in mind, receiving another "thanks but no thanks" can be viewed as yet another test, encouraging me to look within and ponder, "How badly to I really want this? What am I willing to give to make it happen?"
I believe in dreaming, in writing down goals, in manifesting what I wish to create in the world. Every day I take at least a few steps in this direction, with this aim. And I am doggedly making it happen.