Every year at this time I am reminded of the 8 New Year’s Eves I had a standing date with Richard Simmons. For 8 years in a row, he had the Today’s Special Value for QVC’s New Year/New You celebration. I was flattered that he requested me as his host. Our airings were very successful.
Working on New Year’s Eve was old hat for me. As a musician through high school and college, I played in a band on most New Year’s Eves. At least on QVC I didn’t have to see the “amateurs” drunk and falling all over each other. Granted, some of the phone calls were very entertaining. And it was fun to tell Richard to “shut up” a few times during the hour so I could do my job. He had a great record of helping people lose weight and live healthier lives. I was proud to work with him.
These days, I’m happy to ring in the New Year watching the live Times Square celebration at 9 PM Pacific Time and then watch the West Coast re-play at midnight Pacific Time. A few years out here we fell asleep before midnight but did see the 9 PM live feed from New York.
While many people look at this as a time to make resolutions for the coming year, I have never done that. I reflect on the past and think about how I can do better in the coming year. But no resolutions. I make plans and then act on them. Beats the hell out of making resolutions that you’ll probably break within a few weeks.
When we first came our here it looked like I was going to work in radio. Well, that didn’t work out. It turned out to be the worst professional decision of my life. I’m sure my employer viewed it the same way. When I found myself without a job in 2012, I had to make some quick plans. I was lucky that I had the option to go to a shopping channel as a guest. I did that, commuting 2,000 miles regularly to Minneapolis.
I did this for almost 2 years until one of their executives thought my older self didn’t look good enough for their channel. Okay, since then she was fired and their stock price is in the toilet. Karma? I like to think so.
Their decision left me unemployed again. I had offers from other shopping channels (apparently I looked fine for them) but I decided that after over 20 years on-air it was time to do something different. I decided to start recording demos and pitching my original songs. Since I was pretty open about what I was doing on social media, the hate started flowing on the anonymous message boards. It was fun to read. I always figure the haters on the Internet would be kicking a dog or abusing their children and/or spouses if they couldn’t spew heir venom on the Internet.
I had researched ways to effectively pitch your songs and discovered that the many pitch services online were a good way to go, especially for a novice. I tried several. One, called “Taxi” proved to be a waste of time and money for me. They use their own screeners who judge your songs before they decide whether to pass it on to a publisher or artist. I found their screeners to be needlessly judgmental and pretty nasty at times.
SongU out of Nashville turned out to be an excellent resource. They helped me place a song with a new country duo’s CD as well as another one with an established artist. And now, one of my songs (Take Me Home) is on hold for a major Nashville artist. This man won Entertainer of the Year several times and is a multi-platinum selling artist. I should hear a final answer in a couple of weeks.
Also, a Facebook friend, a former TV shopping peer whom I never met in person, heard one of my songs last year and forwarded it to a major country artist they know. That artist passed on the song but this same person just forwarded my new Christmas song to that same artist. I am very hopeful about this one. Plus, I am tremendously impressed that this person would go out of their way to help me. As I said, we were peers in the TV shopping world but never met in person. Their kindness has overwhelmed me.
I find it interesting that many of the people I know extremely well in the DRTV world have some solid contacts in the music world and have never offered to lend a hand. Granted I never asked them, but I also never asked the former peer who has really gone out of their way to help me. As I said, I find it interesting.
It took some time to get traction as a new songwriter. Many country artists are writing their own songs these days since it’s a good way to make up for what they’re losing in declining CD sales. They don’t need as many outside songs as they did in the past. It was well over a year before I placed my first song. You have to endure a lot of rejections. I have logged over 500 rejections in the 2 years I’ve been doing it. But, as they say, it only takes one.
As 2016 begins, along with the initial success with my songs, some other pretty cool things are happening professionally. I will keep you apprised as those things develop.
Healthy, happy and successful New Year to you and yours!
©2016 Steve Bryant – No portion of this may be copied and or broadcast on any medium without express written permission of the author.