February RPM Challenge

I’m not one to rush things. This comes into play greatly when I sit down to write lyrics or record. Lately, my better half suggested to me that I sign up for “RPM”, which is an annual project encouraging musicians (and non-musicians alike) to create and record either 10 songs, or 35 minutes of music all within the month of February. I decided to take the challenge.

There’s an interesting story about a pottery teacher who tried an experiment. He divided his class into two halves. He told the first half to make “the perfect pot”, and anybody doing so by the end of the semester would receive an A in the class. The other half of the class was told to make as many pots as possible using 50 pounds of clay, and not to worry about the quality of the work. What happened? The first half (perfectionists) kept throwing and rethrowing their clay, attempting to create the one perfect pot- but none of their work was as good as the other half of the class who made so many pots they perfected the skill by the end of the semester.

And so it goes. I’m about to join the second half of the class. It generally takes me 3-4 months to create a song. I take tons of time sculpting the lyrics, and remixing the music until it sounds perfect to me. When I think about making a song every three days, it terrifies me. Out of the ten songs I have to make, it’s highly likely that a few of them are going to be clunkers. I’ve spent my whole creative life on no deadline, generally working on 8-10 songs at a time over the course of a couple years so I can avoid making clunkers. The songs that don’t click never progress too far out of the studio ‘nursery’ folder. The songs that work well are allowed to mature, and I spend more and more time on them until they meet my standards. This is a luxury I’m not going to have while doing the RPM project.

So comes another question… how much of this work am I going to share with you? Well, I’m going to share all of it. My hypothesis (which is fairly optimistic) is that I may end up with around 5 songs that are good enough to release as an EP. I will however share each of the ten songs as I finish them throughout the month here on this blog. Since I don’t have to turn the songs in to RPM until the beginning of next month, feel free to comment on what you hear and assist me in the process. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on “Quantity vs. Quality”.

Thanks for your time, and hold onto your hats!

photo by V. Sprung
photo by V. Sprung

Can’t Stop The Now...

More To Explore

Ashland [Redux]

I created a fresh, 20th-anniversary remix of my song Ashland using the original tracks I recorded back in 2001. To celebrate one of my tightest

Poetry on Parade

I’ve written poetry for years, but had never read it aloud before this weekend. On Friday, I had an event at Esquina Chicago to celebrate

Why “IS”?

After releasing 16 albums and 13 standalone singles, I permanently closed the lid on the William Steffey catalog. William Steffey’s swansong was the single “Sparkle”,