Los Angeles, CA – “The Ego Petting Zoo” – August 18, 1998

This whole week was like being at an ego petting zoo.

I got to play another show with Dad in LA, this time with Carol King at the famous Hollywood Bowl.  My nerves weren’t as bad as the ones at Fiddler’s Green despite a crowd I knew was chock full of famous industry people.  Backstage, after the show, there were amazing artists and actors with compliments and gifts and hugs and tears in their eyes that they credited to my song.  But swimming in the same waters were sharks on the prowl. They asked me in hushed tones, like drug dealers, if I’d signed a deal yet and could they get me in to discuss a record proposal this week.   I declined with humility but clarity. 

I took a meeting with an entertainment lawyer the next day just off Rodeo Drive.  Fred’s office was strung with some of the most beautiful guitars I’d ever seen strumming silent chords to welcome me.  Fred said he loved my songwriting and voice “It’s not like either of your parents.  It’s something all its own.”  He suggested we get some record company money behind it and that he’d help me.  But this trip out to LA has made me sure of one thing: I want to go this CD alone.  I need time to develop myself outside of the spotlight.  I want to build a relationship with my audience and figure out what I really want from the inside out rather than the outside in. 

Fred was surprisingly supportive.  He offered this advice — “Figure out where you want to be in 5 years from now and what you need in 2 years to get you there.” At this, he took a guitar off the wall and asked me to play him a song.  As I sang, in the eternity between chords, I became clear about where I don’t want to be in 5 years:

  • Scared I’ll fail if I don’t get a ‘hit.’
  • Scared of getting old or undesirable
  • Bossy
  • Hungry
  • Inauthentic
  • Manipulative
  • Egocentric
  • Lonely
  • In a career that accommodates or alleviates my fears

While I know this is not the destiny of every signed artist, I think I know myself well enough to say it’s the course I would take.  I don’t think I’ll know what I want until I start touring.  I’ll cut my own path once I get there.