WHY I DO…. Reg Meuross writes a guest editorial for Living Tradition

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This article is featured as a guest editorial in the new edition of The Living Tradition Magazine SUBSCRIBE HERE

WHY I DO…

I recently received a letter from a friend who, in his early 40’s had just made his first CD of original songs. It was full of despair and resignation because he wasn’t getting the attention he thought would come. It was filled with talk of quitting and how it was all a waste of time and money. It inspired me to write this.

Music, writing and performing isn’t a job for me. It isn’t something I am motivated to do for reward, or financial gain, or to be employed. It has become my occupation secondarily because I am lucky to have something that people like to share and listen to. I can’t say for sure if I would still do it if they didn’t but I can’t imagine not doing it so I suppose I would.

Reg Meuross - please credit Jonti WillisWhen I hear people complain that they are not earning enough, or people aren’t buying their CDs or coming to their shows, I don’t equate this with their performing abilities or their skills or dedication as an artist, because I know that some of the finest writers, singers and players find it impossible to earn money or make a career from their talents.

Making a business of music is an art in itself and requires a huge amount of effort, concentration, time and dedication, not to mention luck. It requires the person to be tenacious and resilient, to be able to take the hardest knocks to their ego, to be able to shrug off criticism and personal attack. They have to be able to accept that there will always be many people they consider inferior to them artistically who will not only find regular employment but even become successful and famous. They have to accept that people who appear to have none of the passion or literary or musical skill and individuality that they have will seem to enchant and fascinate and impress people to the point where they will fill halls, sell out of CDs and adorn countless magazines and internet sites.

Failure is only measured by how much you want to achieve. If you wantreg meuross singer songwriter folk reflections to achieve fame and  monetary success you are setting yourself up for a fall because so many factors required to achieve that success are out of your control. On the other hand if you set out to achieve good work, beautiful music and poetry, the only failure is to fall short of your own expectations and there is no shame in that. That is what drives you to become a better artist.

Writing, singing and to a slightly lesser extent performing were always a vocation for me. From as young as I can remember I never imagined myself doing anything else. It seemed to me something I was born to do and therefore required to be good at. As I wrote and performed I always strove to be better. Self-criticism comes with the package and I felt I owed it to myself, and later to my audience to be good at and believe in what I did.

People often ask if I get nervous before performing and my answer is mostly no. I used to, but that was in the days when I thought it was all about success, being famous and loved, earning vast amounts of money and being something I wasn’t. At some point in middle age, I realised it wasn’t about any of those things. It is about creating art from the world around me and my interpretation of the world I see. It comes from a need to communicate, but communication on a meaningful level; something we don’t always achieve in everyday conversation but which can be achieved through poetry and music.

reg meuross silent waveOf course it is now my profession and has been for many years. It has never been easy and not always financially worthwhile, but it has always been rewarding. Even though now I acknowledge it as my profession and something I need to do to earn money and pay my bills and put food on the table, those goals have never fuelled my motivation to create. The only master there, the one demanding quality results is the song.

It may be that before I die the gift to do what I do will escape me or be used up. If that time ever comes I hope I can still be grateful for what I had and rest easy in the knowledge that I made songs for the right reasons, and I brought pleasure to people’s lives with them and even encouraged and inspired them to think or feel in a different way and possibly even make their own songs.

I’ve always loved this poem by John Betjeman which puts it all into perspective for me.

The Last Laugh

I made hay while the sun shone.
My work sold.
Now, if the harvest is over
And the world cold,
Give me the bonus of laughter
As I lose hold.

Reg

regmeuross.com

This article is featured in the new edition of The Living Tradition Magazine SUBSCRIBE HERE

issue115_front-cover_fbLT Reg guest ed.jpt

2 Responses to WHY I DO…. Reg Meuross writes a guest editorial for Living Tradition

  1. Sandra says:

    This is certainly true about you: (in the words of Robert Schumann)

    The musician’s art is to send light into the depths of men’s hearts.

  2. Well put Reg. My songwriting became the main focus of my creativity in my late 30’s when I had peers still trying to get deals and adjusting their style to fit etc. I have done ditties for kids and adult humour as well as musical theatre and currently country rockabilly. If I had been attached to an “image” I would have been stuck in one genre forever.

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Reg Meuross Singer Songwriter Storyteller