You work and work at this, and you’re so close to it that sometimes you don’t get to see the bigger picture and the progress you’re making. Pick your metaphor: “forest for the trees,” “battle vs. the war”, etc - the point is that a few years ago I made a conscious decision to venture beyond America with my music, and I knew whatever was going to happen was going to be a slow burn: a grassroots kind of affair, and that such things take a while. I wanted to grow my fan base, and you do that by abandoning your comfort zones and bringing your music to new people in new places, not by playing for the same old people in the same old places, which is a rut a lot of musicians get stuck in.
Suddenly, this morning, I noticed that the majority of interaction I’m having these days (social media, email, website, etc.) is with people I don’t know from distant places, who either saw a show or came across my music online and sought me out. The shows I’ve been doing outside the United States have been a lot of hard work and the travel can be a grind. You work it from the ground up and cultivate something a little bigger each time out (we ain’t exactly flyin' in private jets and sellin’ out stadiums yet, and that’s OK; we're doing better than last year, and last year was better than the year before that...you get the idea).
When you do all this yourself, the rock-star glamour is a very small part of your day. And I like that, because we live in a time where people seem to be increasingly putting their stock in fake things and fleeting things and “virtual” things. I'm keeping my eye on real things. Stuff that comes without much effort usually comes without much value.
So thanks – and welcome – to all you new friends from foreign lands. We'll be coming to see you all again in the spring. Patience, people...we’re building things. And it’s good to build things. Remember – if you’re finding that something is hard, chances are it's worthwhile and you’re doing it right.