“My Own Worst Enemy”
By: Tracee Perrin
So, I’m sitting here noshing on some sweet potatertots, recounting my recent meeting with an A&R representative from Warner Bros. Records. I had been estranged from my craft for a bit after having a baby 6 months ago and was in the midst of a songwriting workshop to kick myself back into the habit. I had been working on a couple of new tunes and, at the advice and encouragement of a trusted mentor, had settled on which ones I would play for him. I took to tightening up lyrics, re-working the melody and practiced playing it as much as I could. But in the three days prior to the meeting that mean girl voice inside my head started to express her opinion about my rusty songwriting skills, tired appearance, lackluster guitar playing and lack of marketability as an artist. That mean girl went on to tell me that this meeting would be pointless and there is not way this guy would take me seriously as I had nothing to offer. Suffice it to say, I started to feel like I was “coming down with something.”
The day of the meeting rolls around and I print out my homegrown press with a copy of my current EP and a business card….fake it til you make it, right? I printed out my lyric sheets and then decided I should cancel the appointment. What if the song isn’t as done as it should be? Is this new material isn’t the best representation of myself as an artist? I’m barely out of maternity clothes, what the hell am I gonna wear? Nobody’s heard of me, what kind of message will that send? The list of doubts really could go on and on, but you get the idea. But then I realized two things. First, that mean girl is just fear in a pretty dress and, two, I was expecting too much. Not that my expectations shouldn’t be high, they just need to be reasonable. Before I talked my self out of going to the meeting I had to ask myself what it was I actually wanted out and could reasonably expect out of this meeting. Was it a recording contract? Song placement? Constructive feedback? Expand my network?. Etc…Once I figured that out, I was still nervous, but I felt much more empowered. So, I curled my hair, did my make up, put on my post baby tummy control jeans and away I went.
I arrived early at my mentors place and played her some changes to a new song I’d been working on. She had some good notes and to my surprise she thought that I should play it at the meeting. I momentarily had an internal freak out about how I would implement the changes and remember how to play it in 15 mins. It seemed like the worst idea on the planet and totally out of character for me to present something I was not 90-100 percent comfortable with, but I decided to go for it. I found a quiet corner, focused and got it done….good thing the type A part of me brought those printed lyrics just in case!
Fast forward to the meeting. I introduce myself, hand him the press kit and lyric sheets and proceed to begin play my “hot off the press” song. And….I forget the words in the 1st verse and have to start over!! I wanted to crawl into a hole and stay for the winter but I picked my stomach up off the floor and started over. It went much better the 2nd time and was received well enough for him to request to hear a 2nd song! With a little confidence boost from this, I played another song I hadn’t totally intend to and it went even better than the first. When all was said and done I didn’t walk away with a record deal but I felt like I had made a really good first impression, one that I could build on. A seed was planted and to think that I worked really hard to talk myself out of the opportunity seems so ridiculous now. I can be my own worst enemy, hellbent on sabotaging my own career just by letting the mean girl called fear have her way. I learned just what can happen when you get over yourself just enough to face your fear.
Thanks for listening.