Pursuing the elusive Hit Song…or not…

We’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s the journey, not the destination that counts.”  At the same time we live in a society that worships glorified destinations.  Hollywood and the world of sports, epitomize the golden crown so many wish to achieve.  For those without artistic or athletic dreams, the values instilled by media affect how we view ourselves, our bodies and deeply affect how we choose to spend hard-earned resources.  For those with acting, music or sports on their hearts, the final destination can become a prison rather than a playing field, especially when success, as defined by society at large, can often be elusive.

For the past few years of my life, I have wrestled with the desire to create music.  This has at times been inspirational and hopeful, leading me to meet incredibly talented and passionate people whom I would never have met had I not embarked on this journey.  Other times, it can seem like a black hole that sucks up all my time, resources, and energy.  During the harder moments, I often try to remind myself – it’s about the journey.  However, sometimes these reminders ring hollow as I look to find a result or a breakthrough.

Lately, I experienced a supernatural shift in my perspective, for which I am deeply grateful.  This shift has brought a new hope, and a new peace to how I approach what I am doing.  The shift comes from the knowledge that each of us is gifted in a unique way that is meant to be a contribution to this world.  Paul Williams, President of ASCAP proclaimed at the 2011 “I Create Music” Expo, “The world deserves to hear your song!”  While I’m not sure the entire world needs to hear my songs, I’m certain there are people out there who will find encouragement and resonance with what I represent.

For many songwriters, life is about the pursuit of writing a “hit.”  If you measure yourself against this goal, anything short of a “hit” could be deemed a failure.  I think this is a cruel form of self-punishment.  Rather, I choose henceforth, to open my hands with gratitude for the songs that I’ve been given and choose to honour these gifts by continually finding creative ways to share my unique perspective on life.  Having hosted open mics for a few years now, including the Songwriters Association of Canadas Toronto Regional Writers Group, it always strikes me how each songwriter has a personal style that is like a fingerprint, completely one-of-a-kind.  I too have my fingerprint that cannot be replicated in this world.

In my mind, I see a picture of myself opening the window and setting a cage of doves free to take flight. I can’t wait to see my songs fly…

Visit Lily C’s Songwriters Profile

8 thoughts on “Pursuing the elusive Hit Song…or not…

  1. Lily – great perspective and nice to see you speak. Where I’m at with all of this is “it’s all about the song!” Every song I write, or co – write adds something to the world – it was never there before. It tells it’s own story in the style of the songwriters and musicians who bring the song to life. I have some goals like 1) try to get better at saying what I say, style and technique; 2) try to tell more interesting stories, content;and 3) try to make the projects pay for themselves. In the process which is most important of all, I have met some wonderful and talented people like you and many others. It’s a lot of fun and it’s an accomplishment to finish a song! Nice to know you!


    1. Joe – I like that you have concrete goals that you are working towards, while appreciating the fun along the way. I too am glad to have met you along the way!


  2. I couldn’t agree more Lily! I focus on each little success along the way. After all, much of the success of those with “Hit” songs is the result of long hard days digging themselves out of the black hole. Some are lucky, some are very good and some have a big piggy bank.

    I think you should be proud! You have gained a measure of fame through your involvement with SAC, your hosting of open mics and through this column, (which I regularly read). You have made an impression on people. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know you at all.

    Consider this message a pat on the back.


  3. Patrick T.

    This article resonated with me as well. Good job, Lily C!

    I’ve always loved the process of songwriting…the beauty and challenge of trying to turn ‘Scrambled Eggs’ into ‘Yesterday’.


  4. Bill Land

    Hi Lily

    In a few short paragraphs you have summed up the inner struggle of the songwriter and touched on the reality of songwriting. in a possitive way. Thanks Lily. I feel blessed to have met you. Keep writing.


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