I get asked a lot about why I don't enter contests...
Why don't you audition for The Voice?
Why don't you submit to 'x' songwriting competition?
Why don't you... [enter other question here]...
I used to.
I used to believe that competitions and contests were one of the paths that you could take to be "discovered." (I also used to think that I wanted to be discovered...more on that another day.) I used to think that competitions and contests were genuinely looking for talent, people that just hadn't been found yet.
I have entered my fair share of contests, including The Voice (for more on that, click here) and finally realized - competitions make me feel like crap.
They make me competitive.
I know that sounds obvious, given the word: competition...but I don't believe that music has to be competitive.
I do think that as musicians and songwriters, we need to constantly better ourselves. We need to write better songs, work on our voices, and practice our instruments, but I don't think that this should be done in a competitive way.
It creates weirdness between fellow songbirds.
Instead, I think we should be striving to better ourselves through support and community.
So this begs the question - why did I do the Tiny Desk Contest?
NPR has hosted Tiny Desk Concerts for years (quite reminiscent of my Hallway Sessions, if I do say so myself...) and have had incredible performers come through their offices.
Looking at the contest, it doesn't really feel like a competition, it feels more like a community.
It doesn't feel like winning the contest is the thing, but rather that making the video is the thing.
By making the video, I am joining a crew of other really talented folks who gathered around a desk and sang a song.
Do I think I have a chance of winning? Nah, not really. Last year, they received 7,000 videos.
Do I think I have a chance of folks enjoying the video?
Definitely. Already done.
And here's what I think is cool - my community is an NPR-type community. So doing this video has gotten people energized, gotten us all excited, and plus, it gave me an excuse to pound on a desk.
So there you have it - if all contests and competitions felt like the Tiny Desk Contest, well then, I just might do them.
Here's my Tiny Desk Video below - hope you enjoy!