Music With No Ears
My name is Jeevo. I am an artist. I have 6 albums out. Every album I have put out gets stronger, but my desire to be in any type of music industry gets weaker.
I did an experiment with my latest album called One, that you can find here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/one/1340219396
I did 0 marketing. I sent 1 e-mail out to everyone I know, and posted twice on my social media once the album came out. Every one of my contacts knew I had an album coming out. They had the link. It was even free via streaming services. But no one really heard it. Three months after my album came out (this past week), I casually asked my closest friends / family if they heard it - most of the answers looked like this:
"Oh yeah, I started listening to it." "I need to hear it!" "I know it's amazing, but I haven't heard it yet."
It is amazing to hear this as a musician. You spend so many hours coming up with something out of literally nothing. You craft your lyrics and melodies with love. You spend money. You spend energy. Then you spend more money. You sacrifice time with your wife and child. You skip out on a vacation because you prioritized this album. The list of sacrifices go on, but the more you list them out, the more dejected you get - so I'll stop there. And then 3 months after it comes out, most of the people you know have not heard it.
There was a time when I put out an album, my entire world stopped. Everyone I knew waited in anticipation. That time is gone now. To get peoples' attention, you have to do something so remarkable or ridiculous to keep people from scrolling. For the last 5 years, it has become impossible to hold an average person's attention. I realize that I am a good option - the only problem is, I am a good option in a buffet line. Have you ever been to an average buffet, but there is this one option that everyone really likes? The rest of the buffet was average, but there is one dish that is awesome. The only problem is, after someone in your party finds it, you are too full to try it. This is me in the music industry. I'm solid - but everyone already ate. And there is no room left to try "jeevo."
My music has no ears. My wife and my daughter are my biggest fans. I have become so used to getting no response, that these days I am often caught completely off guard when someone even mentions my album. This used to bother me 5 years ago - and strangely enough, God alone has done a work in me that surprises me daily. I am healed! And I do not need ears. Of course Spotify and Apple Music have reported that thousands have downloaded it and heard it - I am very grateful for all of you who have taken the time to listen, and all who have given me much love over the years - But silence is often louder than the noise.
It is the most liberating thing for a musician to not need ears. I realize that if you want to be extraordinary, you have to change the way you look at, and value the term "impact." What is impact? What is influence? What is excellence? There is a deep seated need in all of us to be significant. For an artist, significance can be measured in how well received he/she is. I know it is not cool to write stuff like this. I know it is cooler to pretend that my music is being heard all over the world. I know we are supposed to carry an image. But I am healed :-)
I want desperately for you to be healed too. Everyone is in a buffet line. They are scrolling through timelines. You may feel drowned out. You may feel undervalued, unnoticed, and completely under-appreciated. I want you to know that greatness is not defined by a buzz or quick bursts of fame. Greatness is a consistent act typically most exemplified in your private life. Who you are and what you do when no one is watching - that is where the substance lies. Your commitment to your craft cannot be tied to consumerism.
People have ears. People have eyes. People have hearts. People have thoughts. The majority of them will never tell you what you mean to them. You have impacted them. You have moved them. It is finally time to perform your greatest act, for the audience of One. Peace, and much love to you - Jeevo.