“Sometimes you gotta honk your own horn, ‘cause if ya don’t know ones ever gonna know your coming!” – Dolly Parton.
Much like my idol Dolly Parton, I consider myself a story-teller first and foremost. I love song-writing and whether I’m good at it or not, it’s the purest way I can express myself. I live to produce refrains and as I get older, try embracing that urge to grow as well. Like a tree wants to reach toward the sunny sky I try to grasp musical aspirations.
Half of me agrees with what Dolly affirms about honking your own horn. While I may have my ‘9 to 5’ job in the healthcare profession (no pun intended) my truest joy comes from my love of making music and performing. Music represents that ‘authentic’ part of myself and I’m compelled to share it, driven to connect to the larger society; as music is so universal it seems any persons melodious skills are gifts worth sharing. This part that strives to adhere and grow also understands there’s times in our life where we seize opportunities; make them, and times we’ll miss or waste them. I look to that quote to assert that if my mission is to connect – I gotta get heard as much as I have to listen. Who’s gonna hear me unless they know I’m coming? As an artist it seems imperative that you do things to promote art.
I could take all the songs I’ve written, let them sit and collect on my computer drive or in journals. Avoid getting on stage for fear of failure or rejection. Alternatively I could have faith; conquer fear. Connect. Is being heard something we all want? Maybe, perhaps not. I’ve often grappled with what putting yourself ‘out there’ looks like in action. Self-promotion, branding yourself – performing live and even interacting with audiences while on stage; these are all ways one could ‘honk their own horn’ so to speak.
On the other hand I don’t know how comfortable I am with the notion of ‘honking your own horn’; there is a fine line between self-promotion and even the idea of branding yourself and being narcissistic. Some artists and music lovers alike believe that to sell yourself (or your art/brand etc) is the equivalent of selling your soul. I’m no expert on selling my art or my soul but I do value humility. I believe art speaks for itself yet there’s some conflict; there’s occasional uncertainty of how to stay balanced. I love creating music – I do not love ‘the hustle’; and can’t say I’ve ever been comfortable with networking or managing that aspect of things.
Ultimately I’m still learning just as I am about singing/songwriting/performing; finding that elusive equilibrium. Like the song goes: ‘to everything turn, turn, turn’; I suppose as an artist I believe there’s a time to honk your horn and get people listening to what you want them to hear, and a time to be still and let the creative undertaking be the ultimate objective. A time to let the music speak for itself, even if but only a few ears ever get to hear it. I’ll trust in this process and just enjoy.
What do other artists think?