Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Arrogance, Cockiness, and Self-Promotion

My man Richard Cheese posted up a blog about how he got some backlash regarding him promoting the hell out of his products, CDs, and appearances via MySpace. In it he candidly discusses his financial situation, his health, and life as an independent artist. It was very refreshing because I can relate with a lot of what he had to say.

"Perception produces reality" is what I recently told a peer group of mine. We anonymously wrote down the good and not-so-good about each other. On the good stuff, there seemed to be a consensus on my talents, drive, and professionalism which I was very grateful to see. On the things needing to improve, I was perceived as cocky, arrogant, and a bit distasteful in the personal appearance area. Of course, I took these things in stride as things that I've been working on my whole life and will continue to work on. Unfortunately, they weren't the first group of people to tell me about my behavior. The same words have been used in the past to describe me and for a long time I was definitely proud of it. Now a days, yes, I revel a tiny bit in it but not when it impedes my ability to work with others.

I've received some comments about the promotion machine that is the V-Zine. In case you didn't know, it's a periodic (sometimes weekly) email I send out to about 300 email addresses I've collected over the years promoting my personal life, shows, and music. It started out as a labor of love straight out of my Yahoo inbox and has now grown to a graphically designed juggernaut that's managed through a sometimes weekly subscription service where any user may subscribe or unsubscribe to. I moved it to this model as I kept hearing things like

"Your emails are annoying."

"All you do is talk about how great things are going for you and rubbing it in my face."

"Hey, I've got your millionth email about your shows!"

"I don't even read them. I trash them automatically."

In the past, I used to send multiple emails out for shows, call and beg people to come to shows, and text remind folks. I would take it really personally if no one came to the show. It took a long time to realize that people ultimately will do what they want to do, thus, strong arming them into coming is useless. Also, I don't ever want people to come to anything I do out of obligation but rather genuine interest in what I'm performing in. I figure putting out a sometimes weekly notice with what's going on in it is very reasonable. If no one shows up, cool! Just don't ask me for free tickets/comps to the big shows down the line .

When promoting myself it seems that it feeds the notion that its something that an only an arrogant person would do. Like Dick, I feel that if I don't promote myself, then who the hell will? I really would like to make an awesome living at this. At a minimum I'd like to achieve lightweight respect and fame directly from the creative efforts I jump into. I truly feel I am no better than anyone in this grand scheme called life. Although I do enjoy having my ego stroked and inflated, ultimately, I'd be known as the guy who does good work, and shows appreciation to those who have helped along the way, because I don't know of any artist that did it all by themselves .

I am going to identify when I'm being overbearing or just confident in what I'm doing. I cannot control people's reactions to what I do, but I can at least be a bit cognizant of their issues and decide it is truly me or them.
Currently listening :
Rock the House
By DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
Release date: 25 October, 1990

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