Today one of my Twitter friends posted something that struck an uncomfortable chord:
I don’t have a similar confusion about my sexuality – I’m much too tired to pretend anything about it – but I have recently come to question myself in a similar manner about my career: how much of my desire to make music is really out of a need for acceptance and adoration?
I don’t think the answer is “all of it”, but I do think the answer is “a bit too much”. Because, like most artists, I’m a bit of a narcissist. This is OK. It’s just that really great artists combine their narcissism with a tremendous passion for and belief in their work, and I just don’t know if I have that.
This explains an awful lot: why in spite of my talent I haven’t really succeeded – metaphorically shouting “HEY LOOK AT ME” is nowhere near as interesting as “HEY LOOK AT ME AND THIS AMAZING AND COOL THING I’M DOING!”. Why when I allow myself to daydream about my career I don’t daydream about performing, I daydream about being discovered in a dramatic fashion. Why when I feel jealousy towards other singers it’s not for their voices or skills, but for the work and the attention they get.
…Why, no matter what I do, I’m never happy with music, because what I want from it is not something it can give me.
As my Twitter friend pointed out in our conversation, positive attention is a legitimate human need. It is damn near universal to want to be accepted, valued, and celebrated. So I’m not going to beat myself up for this very human desire.
I should just maybe stop trying to get it fulfilled by singing. And then maybe I can make some music that really amazes me.