I won’t lie. I have a massive ego. Big enough to take up the entire room and keep going if you open the windows.
Just not in the way you might think.
Seems that you can’t open up the paper or a browser without seeing some celebrity shooting their mouth off about how cool they are and how they think things ought to be. Their words are colored with the inescapable notion that they think themselves the most important thing in the universe, much like former-day astronomers thought the earth was the center of all things.
You know what? That’s not ego. That’s vanity. Or narcissism. Or narcotics. Or more likely, insecurity run amok. Maybe all of the above.
No, my ego is based on a very simple notion. That my sense of self doesn’t depend on what others think of me.
And it’s a place of power.
All artists have to be egoists to some degree. Human beings create simply because it’s what we do. Did you make dinner tonight? If you didn’t take it out of a box, you created something. Artists are just people who think that other people might like their creations. That takes a lot of chutzpah, when you think about it. I mean, what makes an artist’s expression more compelling than anyone else’s? You have to believe in yourself. Because there’s far more people that will tell you you’re wasting your time than will encourage you. And yeah, that means I believe in this band, the songs I write, and the people in the project.
But my outsized ego also means I don’t have to be ‘right’ all the time. And that’s a good thing. Ever watch or listen to an artist who had to have their own way on every little detail? They may in fact be very good at what they do. But they will eventually reach the end of their ability. And if they can’t get over themselves, they have to live in a self-created delusion or it all comes down. Forget that. Life is too short for self-imposed prisons.
Nah, I’d rather have the singers tell me they don’t get one of my songs. Or a collaborator tell me that I’m off the rails with the arrangement or the keyboards or that’s a dumb guitar riff anyway. The goal is good music. And I really don’t care how we get there as long as the end product is made of 100% awesome. If we’re doing that, then there’s plenty of room for everyone else’s input. I am not lessened by this. If anything, we all become more for it. And the next song just gets that much more awesome.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather be friends. I’d rather you think well of me. I’d rather you like the tunes.
But if it’s not to be, it’s not to be.
I can live with that.