Part of being an independent artist is the fact that YOU are in charge of your own destiny.  Whether that means you work your butt off for a year to put out an album and let it sit because you’re so exchausted, or you turn right around and start marketing that puppy straight away.  Whether you are writing new music, or not. 

It’s. Up. To. You.

You are constantly, constantly, conSISTENLY trying.

This past week was kind of an odd one for me.  I’ve been really caught up in trying to market my new album – which takes a lot of time, by the way.  So much time, in fact, that it’s nearly impossible to ever be finished marketing. New stradegies and marketplaces open up all of the time.  Others close down (eh HEM  I think it is safe to say that I am STILL marketing Key of Sea, which I released 2 and 1/2 years ago.  And it’s probably taken this long to see the level of popularity for it that is encouraging, partially thanks to “Jennifer Thomas Radio” on Pandora developing a huge following. 

So to embark on the process of marketing a new album is a bit overwhelming at first.  You never feel like you are going to get all the things on your list completed. And all of the places where you worked so hard to get your first album into, it seems like starting all over again with submission processes.

This past week I have feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all.  Consumed by it and allowing the stress to really get to me. That, and also trying to remember exactly how I put on this thing called “thick skin”.  Oh that’s RIGHT!  As an artist I put myself out there to be critiqued and so it’s expected and I am uneffected. 

He-he, can I please laugh at that statement?  Because it is so not true.  Well,…unless when it comes to critique on something where I am actually not happy with the work myself. So in a way, I know and expect the negative response.  (I’m speaking of my song “O Mio Babbino Caro” from Key of Sea…a song which even though I think it is hip, in hindsight, I don’t think it was a great fit for that album and YES I’ve reaped the blessed recorse of comments from opera purists).

I digress.

My point is – there is a LOT that can overwhelm you as an indie artist.  It has me lately.

And then something happened that made me realize how utterly unimportant stuff like this is, and how precious LIFE is…

Jace Vek and I at our Dec '08 Concert in Seattle

Jace Vek and I at our Dec ’08 Concert in Seattle

A fellow musician collegue of mine, who is also a dear friend, recently experienced a tragic trial of his own. 

On the afternoon of July 25th, Jace Vek was attacked from behind as he was walking up to his front door.  A group of men, one of whom had a brick, bashed the back of his head in and then they all proceeded to beat him in the face and body until he was left for dead.  In fact, he was dead when he arrived at the E.R in the ambulance.  They had to administer CPR and stick a tube down his throat.  He suffered 2 skull fractures and several concussions (among many other things).

Nobody heard from him in a week, and when he finally announced what had happened, it shocked me to my very core.  This just DOESN’T happen to people I know.

He is home resting and recovering now, but I can’t help thinking about him every day and what happened.  It sure does make you realize how petty every day worries are.  The neat thing is how incredibly forgiving Jace has been to the perpetrators, whereever they are.  He wishes them to find joy and correct their ways, never again to do this to another human.  He prays for them. 

I pray for Jace.

What an interesting week.  I guess to sum everything up, all we can do is to take everything one day at a time. Keep trying.  DO something every day.  BE grateful.  Be yourself.

Trials are a part of life.  Regardless, you just have to keep TRYING.


6 responses to “Try(ials)

  1. Jennifer;
    I believe much of your audience didn’t appreciate your “hip” O Mio Babbino Caro because we are an older, more experienced group who has learned to appreciate REALLY beautiful music, which the rest of your albums demonstrate. Work on your next album and get it released so that we can have something new and beautiful to discover!

  2. Dixie: Ummmm . . . I liked Jenni’s twist on O Mio Babbino Caro. New twists on older works are part of what enrich and embroider a culture’s musical history. Beauty is in the ear of the beholder.

    Jenni: I can hardly believe that Jace has enemies. You can bet that Vern and I will be praying for him, too. I’m so glad he’s alive. (Which is a profound understatement.) To think that his life, his music, was nearly cut off . . . I don’t have words for it. (Verbose English major, and all.)

    That news makes my morning seem so incredibly pathetic. None of my family, no matter how frustrating, are in ICU.

  3. Annalea thank you so much. O Mio Babbino Caro has always been a song that people either love or hate, there isn’t much middle ground. Those who have not enjoyed it were those who preferred Classical music as it is, and did not understand that I was not trying to redo Puccini’s piece but that i changed the accompaniment completely into an entirely different song. The melody is the same though, for the most part accept for some meter changing.

    Dixie, thanks for your opinion. And I DID just work for the last year on a new album which I just released 2 weeks ago (The Lullaby Album). So I do not feel the need to hurry on another release for a while.

    thanks again for your comments everyone.

  4. Oh I also wanted to say that I don’t know if it is the majority of my audience that don’t appreciate the song vs. appreciating it. In the 2 and 1/2 years the cd has been out, I’ve received 3 official negative comments about the song. One person left a comment on iTunes, another was an in-person comment said directly to me (a choir director), and the most recent through email convo (Dixie).

    Still, every time I do hear things like that…I am a human being with feelings so I do take the comments to heart.

    My point with my blog post though, was that I personally always regretted the song on thea album NOT BECAUSE I REGRETTED THE SONG, but because I didn’t feel it was a good fit for this particular album. 🙂

  5. GREAT post, Jennifer. You’re right, there are times when something happens – like the terrible attack on Jace – that will make you stop, think, and maybe even re-prioritize things. And not sweat the small stuff as much. 🙂

    And regarding your song that you didn’t think was the best fit for the album…I think we all have at least one of those every now and then. It’s only natural to look back on one of our works, and say, “Hmmm, why did I do that, now?” or, “I should’ve changed this before mastering the disc.”, or whatever. But, it’s part of what drives us to make even a better disc/song/ep the next time around. At least, I think so. 🙂

    Here’s to better weeks ahead. And there are many of us out here – me included – who don’t really know Jace, but our thoughts and prayers are with him regardless! Judging by his Facebook posts, I think he’s going to pull through just fine.


  6. Hey Jen, I agree with all that you have said concerning trying to have thick skin, marketing a new album, and life’s trials in general. (Where would we be without trials to make us stronger and to grow?) About O Mio Bambino Caro; it’s not my favorite song, but I think you did a tremendous job with it, so kudos to you. Variety is what makes an album really interesting……Can you really listen to an entire album when one song sounds like the next? I can’t! Bambino reminds me a bit of what Christopher Peacock has done an many of his albums, and that is to start playing a purely Classical piece, and then morph into something more contemporary….it makes it interesting. If I wanted to listen to pure Classical music, I’d put in that type of CD. I can’t say that there is one particular song on my last album that I wish I didn’t include, but there is at least one that my husband always skips over…LOL.

    Jace is quite an amazing human being, not only musically, but also in his attitude toward his attackers. His experience couldn’t be anything BUT life changing…..and he has CHOSEN to allow his experience to change him for the better. I feel very privileged to know him.

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