I'm aware of how many people are helping me.
I'm aware that I want to make people proud.
I see that what I need is acclaim.
Yesterday it was apparent to me over and over that I am at the personal growth level of the more successful artists who are at the conference.
I heard this one artist who is at my level of acclaim say, "yeah we look at these artists who really have big followings, the ones playing the big showcases here, and we just know that in ten more years we'll be there if we just keep working at it."
You think that's how life goes?
That's not what I said.
I said nothing.
It was a group conversation so thank God I wasn't pressed to answer.
But then I talked for a pretty long while with a young artist from Canada.
And he had the attitude that I have.
He was saying that the ten thousand hours of mastery still only gets a whole lot of people to a certain level.
From that level to an even higher level of acclaim or achievement or notoriety there is another characteristic.
He was saying that it's the time spent strategizing.
Strategizing is as important as practicing or writing.
This blog is a strategizing tool, as I'm sure you're aware if you've been reading along for a while.
My tours to Europe are a strategy in and of themselves.
What I saw yesterday is that I have been doing the good hard work.
I'm doing almost all the right things.
This conference and apparently other like it are a new aspect of strategy that I had not understood.
Today I'm going to a meeting where DJs who have Folk oriented radio shows sit at tables and let everybody shower them with their music.
Sounds awesome and also ridiculous.
I'm going for sure.
I'm almost all out of CDs which is cool, because everyone says nobody wants CDs.
I'm going to go to this meeting with a very good strategy.
Rob G came up with it on the phone last night, in between crying over the death of our little Aidan.
He told me to bring my notebook, and a couple CDs, and I should write the mailing address and contact info of all the DJs I like and then I will mail them my CDs when I return to Minnesota with a follow up email.
The reason I'm almost out is that I got to the conference yesterday morning and just set up and played in the front lobby.
No mic, just acoustic guitar...my black Martin.
People were quite supportive, many gave me their business cards, many asked for CDs.
Nobody offered to pay for them, but hey, I suppose they think I think it's a privilege to be solicited at all.
And there, at that conference it is, because everyone advises you not to try to give any CDs to industry people.
Mostly because they say no thanks and you get your little heart broken.
It's a big cruel world my friends.
I got to sit in a ballroom and see Mavis Staples tell stories of her childhood and touring with her family.
I got to see Patty Larkin play the guitar like a bad ass.
I stuck around 'til the late night showcases, which take place in private rooms way up on the tenth and eleventh floors starting around ten at night.
All you need to get in all of them is your conference lanyard and by the generosity of the kind woman who has been championing my involvement here, I had the lanyard around my neck, that has my name and says, "ARTIST" on it.
So I floated through several rooms, listening to some awesome artists.
I loved it but it's a shit show and I got tired fast.
Of course, I played in the lobby from nine in the morning to one in the afternoon already that day.
It's such a long day and night.
The people who stay in the hotel take naps, and they go out for dinners.
They have a rhythm to the whole thing which I can't achieve this first time, because I'm staying at the hostel.
But, the hostel is a beautiful quiet and fun oasis from the conference experience.
The best feeling of all yesterday was the moment when I said to myself, "I am over this".
It was nearly midnight and people were kind of drunk and there were musicians playing in every room, room after room, and the narrow hallways were packed with musicians carrying instruments and every other sort of industry person all talking and drinking and so into it, with tons of high energy everywhere.
I realized that I had lost the people who were saying, "You have to come see so and so, they're so great, they play at one thirty tonight in room whatever....."
I was suddenly on my own and it was the perfect moment to ditch out!
I got back on the elevator, I headed down to the lobby, I hit those big glass doors and suddenly I was outside in the gorgeous humid still night of New Orleans!
I put my guitar on my back and just started walking towards my hostel.
The real world was so beautiful and quiet and just so comforting.
I got back to the hostel and people were sitting in the lobby bar sharing a bunch of pizzas they got delivered.
Relaxed and fun.
Very little money needed.
Everyone relaxed and fun.
Oh my God.
I will succeed.
I will, I promise.
I'm getting close.
A guy at the conference asked me why I want to succeed.
He said, "Is it the money? Is it the fame? What's driving you?"
I thought about it and I knew the real answer, I know the real answer now.
I'm trying to give my music and my ability to perform the level of acclaim that it deserves and give it it's rightful place in the world.
I see that people who love my music feel frustrated by my situation, often saying to me, "This music is so good, why haven't more people heard of you?"
Well, I'm working on that.
That's what I'm working on.
Give what I do the light and the love it deserves.
All I'm saying is it's not where it wants to go yet.
I feel there's more to do.
Others feel it for me too.
I'm working on it.
And today I'll go meet the DJs!
Love from New Orleans!