Monday, June 18, 2012

Can You See The Forest for the Trees?

Sometimes I think as artists trying to "make it", whatever that means, we don't focus on what is most important. All we see is words like "record deal", "gigs", "studio", "winning a contest", or "being discovered."

In many ways I think this is short sighted, and really, old-fashioned.

I was just in the forest recently hiking, and noticed a sign that said "Bear Country. Be mindful of your surroundings." Then I noticed as we were walking on the trails that beyond the trees to the left and right of me, I couldn't really see what was in the forest. Yes, I literally couldn't see the forest for the trees. If a bear had indeed been 'bearing down' on me I would never have known it.

We are like that as artists. We tend to put all these fantasies like getting signed, seen, or heard by the right folks ahead of actually planning something special, making it, and getting it out to the real world. We let "what could be" block us from what can and will be. Then we spend years following trails to nowhere because we really have no idea where we are going.

Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to make our own imprint on this world musically. We can be the artist we want to be, and not try to conform it to what the radio sounds like, or what they like on American Idol, or even what you think your church wants to hear. You have to know the forest you walk in, and find your path to your own version of success.

This is one of the very first things we talk to artists about when we are consulting with them. And it's one of the biggest revelations when they find out they hadn't really put much thought into what it is that makes them unique. Without knowing this, it's impossible to figure out a path.

Then you start knowing what kind of musical and more importantly, ministry path you are on, and how to navigate and innovate in that world.

You also get to enjoy the day instead of fearing you'll be lost in the forest forever.

"The world's a forest, in which all lose their way; though by a different path each goes astray." - George Villiers

What are the things that you put before just being who you are in music? Where do you go astray?

Ponder these things won't you?

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland hiked the very trail you see above and knew where he was going (as far as you know). He lives the adventure every day and struggles just like you as an artist. As Executive Producer of projects for artists all over the world, he leads them like a good Forest Ranger the best he can. Find out more at

1 comment:

Ian Zumback said...

This is a really encouraging entry! I only recently started down a more intentional ministry path - once I felt there were objectives to keep the music ministry on the path that I hope God would intend it to be useful. Without it - just seems like your spinning tires and promoting self.

Thanks for sharing!