CEO Composer Singer-Songwriter

This may sound redundant because the notion of a singer-songwriter already implies that some sort of composition is going on, except for the fact that not all pieces of music are, in fact, songs. Perhaps all songs are compositions, but not all compositions or songs, and I do not want to be limited to only composing songs, although having a healthy representation of them within my performances certainly makes a lot of sense. I believe I have under 10 original pieces with lyrics and yes this can be expanded, but I also believe I have more than 10 original pieces that do not have lyrics, and these comprise the roughly 20 original pieces of music I have created and that I know how to play at some level.

The choice between being a sideman or band leader can happen very early in life. Almost everyone begins as a side man because other people have more experience than they do when they begin. If that person never learns to sing, create an arrangement, or write down a score, they may remain a hired gun as a sideman or side-woman in good performing bands and in recording studios. Perhaps this is the only way to learn a skill and get good enough to then grow to the point where a person can be a band leader and create a solo album. At least, this is the way this was presented to us 50 years ago, but now that we have social media and the Internet, digital recording, and much lower-cost, professional-sounding gear. It is not clear to me that this is the only path because there are many people in popular music who have created a different path by simply going out and doing it. They are not necessarily trained and most likely have not attended a conservatory, and they may not have 10 years’ worth of lessons behind them, but they may have two years’ worth of actively playing a lot of hours and then go out and hit the road.

This process is not unlike becoming a CEO by starting a company. You can work your way up through the ranks and take 10, 20 or 30 years. Or you can start a company and take 30 minutes. You do not end up with the same skills and gender knack at the same place, and you do not have the same credibility at the onset for sure, but within a few years, a self-made entrepreneur CEO might surpass that 30-year veteran.

I doubt very much that these are delivered intentional decisions that are made before the path is chosen. Some people are simply born that way. Which way? The way of not accepting direction and following orders but moving steadily and forcefully forward on a path of their own creation. It is certainly conceivable that creative outliers will be willing to take orders until they get discovered and promoted into an elite position. I was never one of those people, not when I was 10 years old and not when I was 70 years old a few months ago. When you are born this way, there is no one to ask permission from, and in fact, it does not even occur to you. it seems too frustrating the long to wait for permission to do what you want to do so you just have to innovate and go and do it as soon as you are available.

I am not advocating this path, for it is not a conscious choice. As an involuntary innovator, I really had to do what I did.