A little over a year ago, I stumbled upon one of the most wonderful groups of songwriters I have ever met, SWAN. The Songwriter's Association of Norman is a lovely collection of kind-hearted people who have a passion for writing songs.
The first Tuesday of October in 2013, I went to my first SWAN meeting. I walked into Michelangelo’s Coffee and Wine Bar carrying my guitar (just in case I wanted to play, but I wasn’t making any promises), and not having any idea what to expect.
Of course I got there early, because I am perpetually early to everything, and one of the regulars came up and introduced himself to me. After a little while, he asked me if I wanted to get up and play something. Despite the fact that I was terribly nervous, (and internally yelling at myself for bringing my guitar in because it took away my only excuse not to play), I got behind the mic and sang. I remember being so relieved after I finished my first song “It’s too late to say goodbye.”
“Ahhh. I made it. I can breath again.”
And then…he asked me to play another song.
“Oh crap. I wasn’t prepared for that…”
I fumbled and stumbled through my song “I’d cry” and walked away feeling a little bit discouraged by my performance but absolutely enthralled by the entire experience. I stuck around for the next two hours, and really for the next year, meeting and learning from all the other songwriters in the group.
I absolutely fell in love with the whole concept of a group of artists coming from all walks of life nearly every Tuesday night to share their songs. I joined SWAN officially the next week, and it has been one of the best things I could have done for my music.
SWAN has been such an incredible place to grow as a songwriter, to challenge myself, and to get feedback. SWAN has given me the opportunity to cultivate my abilities by giving me a place to perform new songs and old songs alike. There is really nothing more valuable to a songwriter than that.
One of SWAN’s goals is to teach its songwriters as many different aspects of the industry as possible. In the last few months, I have gotten to work sound at some of our events. It was a little bit scary at first, but with the help of the guys at SWAN, I am much more comfortable with it. Now, it is one more aspect of this industry that I absolutely love. I have learned so much from the wonderful members of SWAN and I could not be more thankful for their support. They have all taken me in from the very beginning and made me feel like a part of something. Isn’t that how artists should be? Shouldn’t we spend our time encouraging and helping other musicians out rather then wasting all our energy trying to compete with each other?
I certainly think so…