When I first started writing songs, I never really played them to anyone other than Mike. It was more to entertain myself and that’s the way it’s always been; I write for me, I write what I think is funny or clever and if someone else enjoys it then that’s great. After a few years of writing, I realised that I could probably do something with all these songs. I considered them to be pretty good and occasionally I’d play them to someone else and they’d like them. So I started recording them and uploading them to SoundCloud.
Despite posting them on social media and promoting them as much as I could, hardly anybody listened to them, so I never really got any feedback. At the time it didn’t bother me too much, but when I wrote Vote Gary! and that did really well, I got to thinking that maybe I was a half-decent songwriter after all. I did a couple of small ‘gigs’ for family and friends and my songs went down well, so that encouraged me.
Since SoundCloud wasn’t doing much, I decided recently – at the suggestion of my colleague, Mak – that I’d change my tack and try YouTube instead. I’m not great on camera and it’s a lot of extra work to record a video every week, but it seemed worth it if people watched them. At the time of writing, I’ve uploaded about 5 videos and each of them have between 20 and 30 views. That’s not great considering the millions of people who watch cats playing piano, but it’s a marked improvement on the single figure views I was getting on SoundCloud and I understand it takes time to build an audience.
The first song I uploaded was Little Green Man, the first song I ever wrote. Again I posted about it on social media, and it got a good reaction. Several people liked it and a couple of people commented really nice comments, so this encouraged me to carry on. Since that video though, I’ve not really had any feedback on the other videos. So again I’m back to recording songs for nobody. But that’s not what’s got me blue.
When I’ve recorded the videos, I’ve been showing mother. I don’t usually play her my songs, cos she doesn’t really get a lot of them, but I thought I’d show them to her and see what she thinks. She liked Little Green Man – Everyone seems to like that one, which is weird considering that was the first song I wrote. That and Wake The Pilot (which was the second) people seem to really like.
But the rest… she doesn’t like them. I played her one last night – Look It’s Raining – and she said “It’s alright… I don’t really like your ‘silly’ songs. I like the parodies, but that sort of song isn’t really my cup of tea.” So I played her another song – My Girl (Falsetto) – which I was really excited about because I got to show off my falsetto singing (which I like to think is pretty good). Again, she didn’t like it.
So there you are. Not even my own mother likes my music. I’m not too bothered by it, cos like I said a lot of the humour is lost on her. Unless a joke is spelled out to her with an obvious punchline she won’t get it. I know it sounds like she’s being unsupportive, but that is really not the case. She’s always encouraged me with my music, she just doesn’t like most of my songs. And I appreciate her honesty, it’s better than her pretending she likes it and me making a fool of myself writing rubbish in ignorance. Plus, if I write something that she does like then I’ll know it’s more than likely pretty good.
Still, it does annoy me a bit. I think because I’m writing all these songs and nobody’s listening to them, so the only real feedback I’ve gotten is either off mother – which is negative – or friends like Mike and Laura who seem to think everything I do is brilliant, so I don’t really trust their judgement.
The reason I’m thinking about this a lot is that I recently emailed a place called The Roundhouse, which is a live music venue, and they said I can do an open mic night and if I’m any good I can play at the Birmingham Comedy Festival in a few weeks time. These would be my first proper gigs, but now I’m starting to question whether my stuff’s even any good or not. I’m worrying a bit that if I do do a gig and nobody likes the songs it’ll put me off forever.
Now, I know that I’m no Paul McCartney, but I do really enjoy writing songs – or at least I did until recently – and I’d like to think that they’re pretty good, but at the moment I’m kind of giving up on them. Who knows, I might do the open mic night and the audience might like my songs, I don’t know, but at the moment I don’t really have much confidence in my material – other than Little Green Man – so I’m not excited about doing any kind of gigs.
If by some miracle somebody does actually read this, I’d like to ask if you could listen to some of my songs and let me know what you think of them. It would mean so much to me and help me to answer the question that’s been bugging me for a while now… are my songs any good?
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