I’m grateful there are people in my life that ask me this question. Actually, I’ve had people asking me this question for about 17 years. And of course, I’ve had different answers throughout the years—sometimes optimistic, sometimes horribly pessimistic. It’s a question that has been wrought with all kinds of expectation—mostly self-imposed. As if my level of value as a human being was based on when my CD would finally get made.
I know that I’ve spent a lot of those 17 years (since moving to Nashville from Minneapolis) waiting for someone to give me permission to start living the life of my dreams – which would be symbolized by their investment in me as an artist. I gave a lot of power to small handful of people, gate keepers at record labels – some even friends – who I shouldn’t have. And most all of those people have moved on to something else by now. So I’m left wondering, “Who am I supposed to give my power to now?” By power, I mean, the power to tell me I’m a valid artist/person.
I’m thankful for the all the songs I’ve written over these years. Ok, maybe not ALL of them…but most of them, because they were written from a place of honesty. I didn’t have a label or a publisher to tell me the songs needed to be more this or that, just to be able to sell them, or find a place on another artist’s CD.
I’ve never wanted to just release a mediocre collection of songs, recorded in my basement. Heck, I don’t even have a basement. I really wanted to create a project that reeks of excellence. Not so that people will be impressed, but I believe God is most glorified through our excellence. I also know how crappy work can be a major distraction away from a message, no matter how great that message is.
Throughout these years, I thought my heart would be enough to justify someone giving me a chance to make a record. But it turns out that people have to believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt – and the cynicism of a conference room full of label execs – that they could make money off of me and my music.
I can see now how that has never been a possibility. There are several reasons for that, but I’ve decided that I can’t wait around for someone else to give me permission to start living the life I desire.
So I’m throwing my own party – and it looks like the PILGRIM MAN project – releasing 9.14.10. What an amazing experience this has been for me. I’ve had an incredible time working with people way more talented than I…using their skills to shape, clarify and magnify my vision for this project.
And I’m so proud about how it’s turning out. Not because of what it’s going to do for me, and my career. But for what it’s going to do for other people. That change of perspective is what is allowing me to push through any obstacles, to invest more money in this that what is probably reasonable, and to strive for a deeper level of creativity and excellence than I have ever imagined…so that God can have a tool to use to make Himself and His love more real to someone who is open to it.
I know God is going to have His way with this CD. I can’t tell God what to do with it. Except to ask for His blessing on it. And trust that the best is truly yet to come.