About ten years ago I was sat in a bar with a close friend when I commented, “If I was one of these musicians with no talent working hard on something that will never work, I hope my friends would let me know so I didn't waste my time”
He replied “Funny you should say that…” and he was not joking.
This was just one example of several times people have told me I had no talent and/or should just give up. Don't get me wrong, I’ve had lots of encouragement from my friends, I’m very lucky that way. But sometimes those negative words from a few cut deep.
Once a different good friend told me “I have never heard anything in your music that makes me think it’s worth you pursuing.” I felt very close to the guy who said that at the time so those words still come to me sometimes, in those dark nights when I cant sleep.
Then there was the time a guy at Church paid me a ‘compliment’ saying: “When I found out we were going to be singing one of your songs today I thought ‘oh no’ to be honest”, (he pulled the face of a guy chewing a wasp at that point) “but it was actually quite good.”
Yay, thanks for that… I guess.
And my personal ‘favourite’: once, when explaining to a respected friend that three of the songs I had submitted to a record label hadn't been shortlisted for use he launched into his “I’m not surprised, I think you should probably work a lot harder on your songs before you submit anymore” speech, before I had the chance to tell him that two of my songs had been shortlisted.
Here’s the point. When I listen back to stuff I did ten years ago I agree that it was awful, however I have come on so far since then. You wouldn't tell a learner driver to “just give up” because they weren't perfect on their first lesson. Music, like most things, takes time, hard work and an opportunity to develop.
So to all those people who told me to give up:
I’m really glad I didn’t!
And who knows, in another ten years, if I work really hard I could write the songs I feel I’m capable of.
Author: Keith Sadler
I want to share my music-making journey with you, as well as my experience of the amazing local music scene here in Suffolk.