Last Saturday I attended the Songwriters Association of Washington (SAW) annual meet up. I got to do a song circle for the first time, meet a bunch of interesting folks, and bomb in my first songwriter critique.
The critique worked like this: each artists submitted one CD track anonymously. The first minute of each song was then played and a panel of reviewers would comment on it before moving to the next. There were about 60 people in the room total and each artist could identify themselves after their critique if they wanted.
My first instinct was to submit “Hunting For the Sun” but I instead opted for the older Mesmers’ track “Why Do You Wander”. I chose it because it was a safer and more conventional tune and that was my mistake. You see, EVERYONE seemed to be submitting the safer stuff and the panel of experts were clearly bored with a lot of it – my track included. They characterized my song as being kind of predictable, with typical lyrics, but having some interesting harmonies. In a word, it was meh.
In retrospect “Hunting For the Sun” would’ve been a much better choice. It was unlike anything else played that day and even if the panel hadn’t liked it, they would have remembered it and probably been more interested by it.
So that’s my big lesson learned: go with bold choices that will stand out at these sort of events. The reviewers are likely to be very experienced musically and if you go for the safe middle of the road pieces you’ll be ignored with everyone else.
So, how to avoid this fate yourself: Embrace what makes you different.