Sam Smith was the big winner at the Grammy Awards this year.  “Before I made this record,” he said, “I was doing everything to try and get my music heard. I tried to lose weight and I was making awful music. It was only until I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen.”

And there you have it . . . award or no award, Sam had discovered the key to making great art, staying true to ourselves. That doesn’t mean we are all guaranteed fame and fortune; what it means is that we will produce our best work.

Interestingly, I’ve heard other superstar singers comment on the songs that made them famous. Some of them never liked those songs to begin with. Others were not even producing music in the genres they loved. They were doing what their record labels or agents told them to do. They became rich and famous, but at the cost of their art. “So what,” you might say.  “I’d take fame and fortune no matter how it arrives.” If that is how you feel, your goal is to be a celebrity, not an artist. That’s okay. I’m not judging you. Just understand the difference.

Sam also hit on the biggest concern that plagues all artists, our need to be heard or seen or read. The number one thing I see draining passion and energy from the artists I work with is discouragement about their sales. We think if we do “everything we can to get heard,” as Sam put it, that we’ll get discovered, when what we really need to do is what Sam did, find ourselves so that our art can flow.

This post marks my first anniversary as a blogger. When I launched this blog, I attached to it no pressure. I wasn’t going to worry about how many followers I attracted. I turned off the comments section to discourage readers from spending time crafting and tracking responses when they could be crafting their art. I made a decision not to write about anything just because it was trendy or would appeal to the search engines. As much as my books, I wanted this blog to be a creative outlet, to be my art. And it has been. It’s brought me tremendous pleasure. I hope it has brought you some too. Thank you!