I was sitting in a seminar classroom in 2013 with Professor Pat Pattison, one of the world’s songwriting experts, learn how to write the best songs I could for you when all of a sudden I couldn’t believe what I was thinking. I felt terrified as the room turned into a blur of noise and I knew the crazy thing to do … was the right thing to do. The problem was the argument that was going on inside of me … and if I lost this argument it could cost me thousands of dollars and years of wasted time. You’re not going to believe what happenned next …
Even though I’d finished writing the songs for the CD and was about to send them to the Producer I suddenly broke into a cold sweat because I knew the songs were “good enough”. THat might sound crazy being “good enough” they weren’t the BEST songs I could write for my fans. Now I’d studied songwriting with Berklee School of Music and I was sitting in another of many songwriting seminars so I could write better songs. You see, Pat had just ruined my plans of recording by simply saying “The best 10% of Beethoven’s music was not the 90% he wrote”. I realised that I had settled for 90% in my desperation to get my songs out there to meet the plea’s and requests for my music from you all. If Pat hadn’t caused enough trouble already he then piped up with “… write the best songs that YOU can write – not the songs someone else would write”.
This didn’t create a mild issue – it created a HUGE problem! I knew I couldn’t use the songs planned for the CD how they were and that I needed to rewrite them ALL … even if the Producer was waiting to listen to them. You deserved the BEST songs Peter Woolston would write – I needed to use my unique ‘voice’ and style to give you songs that rocked! Right there and then I decided to stop the record project and re-write everything.
That moment felt wonderful AND terrifying. In fact for the next few nights I lost a lot of sleep concerned as there were a bunch of people supporting me to make the record and this decision would delay everything. At the same time I also felt wonderful because I knew I could take these songs beyond “good enough” and turn them into the best songs to record.
So what would have happened if I had just plowed on and hit the record button with the songs “as is”? I needed to get them recorded as people were waiting … well, I would have lost the one opportunity to bring these songs to people in their “best dress” – once a song is out it’s OUT! I would have always known the songs could have been better and I that I could have given the people supporting me, people like you, my best instead of my ‘good enough’.
So here we are 2 years later getting ready to send out finished CD’s and release the singles and videos. That one decision slowed the whole recording up by years but by re-writing the songs and delaying the record I wrote the best songs I could for you. People were wonderfully understanding of the delay and people are still excited about the record because they knew writing songs is what I love and that I was only trying to do the best I could with what I loved!
The proof in the pudding is in the CD Reviews I received in the last week from Music Journalists. CD Reviews are something us musicians tremble at the thought of, but you’ll never really know how good your songs are until a music critic who listens to tracks day-in-day-out listens to yours! And you only get one shot for that song too.
So what did they say? The video at the top of this post tells it all! The combined average of the reviews was 4 out of 5 stars!!! That’s an incredible result!!!!
I am so grateful that my labour of love was met with such a positive response by independent reviewers. I realise it could have been so different – if I had simply bowed to mediocre the CD reviews would been average instead of awesome! I didn’t give in to “good-enough” but pushed myself to give my best in these songs … to give my best for you!
So whenever you’re doing something you love and are facing “good enough” maybe that’s a good time to think about the people who will receive that “good enough” – in my experience, even if it adds years and thousands of dollars to the cost of what you’re doing, it’s worth giving your best for those you love.