Cheap Thrills (a.k.a. I Get Around)

Being a mostly unknown songwriter has a few advantages. For example, when you’re performing for an audience and mess up your lyrics, no one knows. Try getting away with that once you’ve had some hits that everyone knows by heart! There’s a silver lining to every cloud, right?

Of course, most of us who write songs, known or unknown, really do want people to hear our songs. Otherwise, we’d stick to writing diaries or sticky notes to ourselves. It’s a whole lot easier to get those in front of their intended audience.

While many of us might have the goal of writing the kinds of hits that everyone knows by heart, that’s a thrill few of us actually get to experience. That doesn’t mean, however, that life is bleak for the rest of us. In fact, gratification can come from the applause of an audience, a compliment received after a show or from someone who’s heard a song on the web, or a note on how one of the songs you’ve written has touched, or otherwise played a part in, someone’s life. Then there are the cheap thrills…

I love to travel, and have traveled to many parts of the USA. I’ve also traveled a bit outside of the country — to Canada, Mexico, England, Hong Kong, and, most recently, France and Spain. One particular kick I get out of songwriting is when my songs get to travel to places I’ve never been, especially places that intrigue me.

Earlier this year I mentioned that one of my songs, “Bubble Gum”, was playing on a web site in China. (See “Now Playing in China” for more details.) In years past, I’ve also had songs released by two different singers in Norway, had my 9/11 song, “Help Us Understand”, played on the radio in Western Australia, had that same song performed at a vocal recital by a singer in Germany, and even had a top five hit for both radio and video play in Mongolia via a young female pop singer from that country. Additionally, some of the singers who have recorded my songs have received radio play for those songs in the Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and several other countries.

This past week, I’ve added two new destinations to my “cheap thrills” list of places my songs have been that I haven’t. The first is a country that interests me greatly, the second a destination I’d never heard of before and, quite frankly, wonder whether it even exists. Curious? Okay, here are the details.

The Asian Age is a daily, multi-edition newspaper based in India. The founder and editor of that newspaper, M.J. Akbar, also has a blog. That blog is managed by one of my relatively new MySpace friends, “blossom”, who recently asked if I would send her a MIDI file of “Help Us Understand” to play in the background for M.J. Akbar’s blog and another blog she writes at http://www.kidsfreesouls.com/. An instrumental version of the song can now be heard on both sites. I may not have had the opportunity to travel to India yet, but, thanks to “blossom”, one of my songs has made the trip. (If you’d like to hear the original recording of the song with vocal, you can have a listen here.)

The other day, I was discussing digital download music with another of my MySpace friends. He looked me up on iTunes, and made a comment about some iMixes that included my songs there. (For those not familiar with iTunes, iMixes are basically custom playlists that iTunes users create, which can be shared with others and even purchased as a compilation album.) I wasn’t aware there were even any iMixes that included my songs, so I had a look and found two. The first was called Lord God Prayer Moves the Spirit, and it is a very nice compilation of Christian music, including songs from Dan Schutte, Dolly Parton, and Amy Grant, among others. The second one, however, was the one I found intriguing, and which took one of my songs to a new, er, place(?). That iMix contains instrumental tracks-only versions of a number of Christian songs, and is called God’s Karaoke Bar. I can honestly say, this is one place I never imagined one of my songs playing, if for no other reason than I never in my wildest dreams would have envisioned such a place. (In hindsight, I suppose it makes perfect sense. I mean, where would karaoke singers hang out after they’ve died and gone to heaven?) If such a place does exist, I’d certainly be more than honored to have my song played and sung there. For now, though, I’ll just have to be satisfied with the cheap thrill of imagining that, thanks to this cleverly titled iMix. (It turns out that both of these iMixes were created by yet another of my MySpace friends, Steven Cravis, though I didn’t realize that until awhile after learning of them.)

Keep those cheap thrills coming!