THE DIRECTOR'S PAGE
From time to time, this page will feature an article from Jimi on various topics, usually about the Network, but sometimes we may just let him ramble a bit! Take the time to read this, enjoy, comment, etc. - Thomas, webmaster
JIMI's POV, by Jimi Yamagishi
As part of the leadership team that keeps The SongNet running, I get A LOT of people asking about our direction, 'specially from some of our more "seasoned veterans" after our open mic events which have a wide diversity of talent & genre. This one's mostly to them, but eventually, we'll all be there.
Here's my POV: Yup, some of us can get a little long winded, & some have a long way to go. But you gotta start somewhere. As an experienced performer & writer, YOU are one of the most valuable assets we have. You've already taken a few steps up the mountain. Our first Wednesday meetings are about learning fro the seasoned pros on the ledge above us. Our open mic nites are about pulling together as a team to help those below us move up a little. Folks like us are in the middle. As you mentioned, if we stop learning, we are dead. But if we stop teaching, we are worthless. Experience & example are the best way to learn, & the open mic provides both. Although sometimes it seems some of our members aren't growing, you never know. A night may come when they get no applause at all & realize something about their art may need a bit of adjustment to appeal to a wider audience. Some have already come a long way because of artists like you. They've seen you at other events, where you become the professor & the club is a classroom. They've taken notes, done the homework, & now are booking gigs on their own, recording CDs. Some even have management. Yet you're still the mentor, & we're still a team. You can hit better, but they know how to pitch. You've heard we learn from our children. If we look at them as time-wasting-blood-sucking-little-brats, we miss out on the purity of emotion & fresh new perspective they bring to things we take for granted. The view that nothing is impossible, 'cuz they can take our limiting walls & turn 'em into bridges. You've probably met the managers, promoters & journalists that have been coming lately. Guess who brings 'em? You guessed it- The absolute beginners that "don't know any better" than to bring an industry person to a simple open mic. And they point to YOU as the reason they are still in the game, as the one they should really be checking out. You've also seen the flyers. Many of our members are setting up their own "mini tours" with artists they've met in our group that they respect & want to work with. Creating shared fan bases like this makes for bigger audiences for all, & brings about a greater awareness that GREAT music really does exist beyond the radio. Music that sometimes doesn't fit the formula that some of those "song gurus" have taught us. At a recent event, many of us shared songs that were depressing, poetic, abstract, stuff that is all wrong by the book. Yet we were touched, moved, even encouraged because they spoke from a real place in a real heart. Art is subjective. You can love Picasso or wipe your butt with it. But even if you dislike it, ya gotta wonder why some people love it so much. If you can find it, & capture some of that flavor for yourself, you can season your sauce a lil' differently & come up with something that speaks to a whole different group of fans. So where is The SongNet going? FORWARD. Veterans like us need to teach now, & set the standards for those coming up behind us. But as in any classroom, there will be some that just don't get it or refuse to listen. They will eventually fail, have an epiphany or become our entertainment attorneys. Yet we try. What goes around & karma & all that. You drink from the pitcher & you gotta go back & refill it or the next guy will either die of thirst (if he's an idiot) or get really pissed off. Pissed off dead people will not come to your aid if needed. The SongNet needs members from all levels to work. Beginners need mentors. Mentors need fresh perspectives. We all need each other's support & encouragement, sometimes even a lil' validation. Please keep letting us know how you feel & what you'd like us to do for you. We'll be sure to make that happen. But because we're not charging for that help & knowledge, we'd appreciate you sharing some of what you know with the rest of us too. That's how a family hands down the wisdom of generations, & we try to be as much of a family as possible in this harsh world of the music industry as we've seen it.
Thanks for keeping the light on. We'll see you there!