Saturday, May 28, 2016

dealing with (musical) rejection

When you write songs, you become highly emotionally involved for two distinct reasons:
  1. The songs usually are personal and emotional in their content.
  2. You worked your ass off to create the songs.
Then someone says you can’t play at their show because they don’t like your sound.

This hurts.

I’ve learned to just say “thank you” and move on. Here is what helps me handle the situation:
  1. MOST IMPORTANTLY:  Desire to never burn bridges. Folks change their minds. If you treat the person who rejected you with respect they might let you play in their show later. They might end up your biggest promoter in the future.
  2. Believing in the music:  Music can be good and not liked at first. This is especially common with innovative material. Others’ lack of vision is out of your control.
  3. Having clear goals in mind:  I know I want to promote the music, so I simply turn my efforts elsewhere toward achieving that goal. Others’ lack of vision is no reason to stop pursuing your own vision. 
None of this is easy, but these ideas helped me through a recent situation involving a multiple act show I was trying to join.


  1. Regarding sticking with clear goals: Within a day of facing down this rejection I pitched a more significant gig. Not sure I'll get it, but the point is I kept my eye on the prize.

  2. Regarding the fact that music can be good and not liked: I freely admit to not liking Led Zeppelin, Rush, and Nirvana at first. It took a little time to open my mind to these phenomenal acts.