Nothing worked.

That’s really what it came down to.

All the advice, all the ways to cut through the noise, all the strategies designed to take my money so I could get heard.

Nothing worked.

I made people stand up, when I got the chance. I made them cry, laugh, feel something, try to make some changes in their lives when I told a story or sang a song. And that’s what it’s about as an artist, isn’t it? If you can create something and change one life other than your own, you’ve done your job.

That should be enough, but you’re human. You and I, we’re both human. Once we see a sliver of light, we want to be in the sun.

And the problem isn’t in the dreaming, really. Or the doing.

The problem is in the listening.

To other people, the naysayers, the critics, the promisers of the future.

Especially the promisers of the future. You can tell who they are, because they’re the ones who have their hands out.

But they don’t want to take your hand.

They want to take what’s in it.

I don’t have another answer, really. I do know a lot of successful people in different arenas of life who’ve told me that they worked hard, but they were also in the right place at the right time. I just heard from a good friend who’s won a Grammy and sold millions of records and all he could think was why me? He knew so many artists who were just as talented as him, if not more.

He said yeah, he worked hard.

But so did they.

And where he has a career now, they just had to get a second job at the Limelight on Silver Lake.

I think if you’re in this thing for the long haul, it’s about believing. Journey had it right. Don’t stop believing.

You have to believe that the light is going to shine on you somehow, in ways you probably can’t predict or control, as long as you keep creating.

You have to believe that you’re that tree falling in the forest that no one hears. Over and over and over, until someone hears you fall.

You have to believe they’ll hear you and come looking for you, that they’ll find you in the darkness with a light that you can’t see right now.

You have to believe that they’ll hold out their hand. And another hand will appear, and then another hand, and another one, until you are looking out at a sea of hands only hoping to be held.

So maybe I do have an answer.

If I find someone who’s holding their hand out and only wants my skin on theirs…

I’m going to take it.