Well, as I said in my last Blog, I certainly am acutely aware of the importance of being able to handle rejection as part of being an artist/musician. I guess one of the main ingredients in this situation is the fact that we are in a business that is so huge, and so diversified, and yet deals with such creative and sensitive people. This dichotomy really presents challenges for us all, because so much of our dreams and aspirations are based and reliant upon how others view and judge us. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like this whole American Idol kind of trend, in which everything seems to become a competition! There shouldn’t be any decisions about who’s better than the other, as far as I am concerned, and certainly, the music business itself is competitive enough as it is!
I really feel that if we are confident enough in ourselves, we can always maintain our poise and composure during hard times of criticism, because after all, half the time, those critics are wrong, and we know it! As I’ve said before, it’s sometimes just the question of when your musical abilities finally reach the right ears. I can proudly say that I signed many a brilliant musician to Hot Licks who even though they may have been relatively unknown, still deserved to be heard and recognized for their work! For me, this was a nice way of silently getting back at all the folks who rejected me over the years, by seeing real talent that deserved to be recognized, and then to act on it!
You have to have the confidence it takes, and the talent to back it up. In these past weeks, my daughter Lexie and I got to play and sing on the new Les Paul Tribute album being made here using the Les Paul Trio, with the great Lou Pallo. It turned out that through discussions with them, I found out they needed a singer for “Vaya Con Dios,” the remake we were going to do of the great Les and Mary hit. Well, my daughter Lexie immediately came to mind, and I recommended her straight out! Did this with full confidence because I knew that even though I was primarily doing this because she’s my daughter and I want the best for her, I knew that she would blow them away with her voice! Not only that, but also the fact that she is already a true pro, and a singer with real credentials to go with her astounding voice. Knowing she has 2 solo albums, has a song in a film and also that she sang on my album with Levon Helm certainly didn’t hurt either, and they were whole-heartedly “open-armed” about her singing on the album. By the time she was half way through the song, there wasn’t a dry eye in the control room, and we all knew we had a winner on our hands!
On the way over, I also explained to her that I had played on tons of records that either never got released, or from which my cuts were removed, so I had prepared her for the eventuality that as good as it may sound, there may be a “rejection” that might even end up being beyond our control. But either way, musically, and for our souls it was a real triumph!