“There must be some kind of mistake?!” was the first thing I said when I started to get some serious attention on Soundcloud.com. I couldn’t fathom why so many people – so many people outside of my little classical music world, would be interested in listening to my music. That old cynicism crept in – one that I think many living composers of this kind of music have. That attitude which says, if there’s a lot of people listening to my music, there must be something wrong, some kind of foul play, some kind of trickery! The double-edged sword would continue with something like, if many people are truly listening, this would imply that I’m compromising my music in some way – dumbing it down – selling out.
I’m writing this blog on the heels of hitting a quarter of a million followers on Soundcloud. Yesterday, I was invited to appear on a podcast that interviews viral artists. I guess I’m a viral artist now? It feels good, and unsettling at the same time. Recently, a good friend of mine, composer Jim Holt, had a similar experience when some of his piano improvisations started to receive a large amount of listens. He messaged me via Twitter:
My advice to Jim came after I had accepted that people just might like my music – no baggage – no hidden agenda – no mistake. I have to constantly remind myself of my own advice – “Have faith in your music. It’s good. People like it.”
It’s always a great feeling to be validated – by anyone. This all begs another question though. Does something like this matter to the classical music world – especially the contemporary classical world. I’d say 99% of these listeners are not associated with that world. I still don’t have big commissions or collaborations, etc. But, I do have 250,000 people listening to my music. In our small world, is that worth something? That’s a question for another blog perhaps.
In any case, I’m elated, and proud that this many people would want to listen. To all of you that have, all I can say is, thank you!