Something by you
We went out for dinner at a local hotel, and while waiting for our table to be ready, we sat in the lounge-bar area and listened to a local acoustic music duo do their thing.
They sounded great, and the songs they were choosing to do covers of showed incredible taste. In between songs, the girl who was playing guitar and vocals mentioned that while they couldn’t promise anything, if anyone had a song request, they’d give it a shot. Nobody from the audience (there were only a handful of us) seemed to have an immediate response, so the drummer began to ease them into another cover.
After the next song finished, we asked them: “What about something you’ve written?” The girl remarked that they were flattered, as they hardly ever get asked that, and after some quick back and forth they decided on a song and began to play.
The song was brilliant. It was rocky. It was honest. It was dynamic. It was real. Some kids from the table over from us got up and started bopping and grooving. New listeners materialised from the hotel’s foyer. The room buzzed.
It turns out, that song hadn’t been heard by a soul in over a year. Nobody—not even the artists themselves—had laid ears on this marvellous piece in far too long. They’d just been playing covers—the songs that people already know.
Songs like that deserve to be heard, just like the covers did when they were shared with audiences for the first time. It’s not just songs though, or people who’re brave enough to do things that’d typically “count” as artistic. It could be software. It could be knitting. It could be a photo. It could be a tennis match. It could be a garden. It could be a team you’re building to tackle a problem. It could be anything, even something that doesn’t have a name or a Wikipedia entry yet.
We all have “originals” lurking within us, even if we’re still yet to find our stride, or settle on the thing we feel destined to do.
It’s our duty to ensure these originals see the light of day, to share them with an audience, or a market. We serve nobody by keeping these wonderful creations within us.
When are you going to decide it’s time? When will you have waited “long enough” in the wings? When you’re old and weary? I don’t mean to be morbid, but what if you don’t live as long as you hope? Don’t rob us of your art, but most importantly, don’t rob yourself of the joyful opportunity you have available, to experience what it’s like to express your passion with the world. You might not have the opportunity tomorrow.
We want to hear you, and we’re ready to applaud and cheer. We just need you to step up to the mic.
Go on. Stop playing other people’s songs for a minute. Play an original.