Just What I’ve Been Waiting For


A few years back I wrote a handful of strange prog-rock tunes.  I had been composing classical music for years and was doing a switch-over to more popular music.  I played some tunes for a friend.  She gave me a weird look and asked, “Who’s your target audience?”  What?  I wrote the music I wanted to hear.

“Fine,” she said.  “If you want to go on writing music for yourself and playing it for friends and family the rest of your life, OK.  If you want to go beyond that you need to define a target audience.  You need to study the music they listen to and write something like that.”

The same thing happened when I started cranking out more fiction.  Who is the target audience?  What genre are you in?  OK, after writing The Fireborn, which is an urban fantasy, I read a lot of urban fantasy.  Hmm.  I like some, some I don’t and some is OK, but none of it is anything like The Fireborn.  The Fireborn is sort of like if Douglas Adams decided to write an Indiana Jones story in Dirk Gently’s universe and then had it rewritten by Stephen King.  I’m not saying it’s of the caliber of their stories, I’m saying that is where it would fit in the Universe of books.  So what is that called and who writes like that?

I’ve read so many pieces of advice telling me that all (insert art type here) has to be along established lines.  The thing is, any art I like doesn’t fall neatly into a category, or at least didn’t when it was created.  For many the genre was created based on that work.

I’m not saying I am a total original who will create new genre that other artists will follow in the future.  I am saying that when I write or paint or compose I have to be me.  More to the point, I have to create the work I’ve always wanted to read, see or hear.  If others like it great!  If not, I guess I will continue to write, paint/draw or compose for myself.  I’ve done it for decades, why stop now?  OK, to make money, but I’m not in it for the money.

Last weekend I finally finished some music I’ve been working on for weeks.  It is not my best by any stretch.  It isn’t in the same league as The Hamlet Symphony!  But I like it.  I like it a lot.  It took me a while to figure out why I was so fixated on it, but realized that it’s a piece of music I having been waiting for since I was a kid.  I liked the electronic music of the late 60s and 70s and couldn’t get enough of it.  Most left me wanting more or wasn’t quite right.  So when I wrote this little homage to the music of that era, using very similar technology, I wrote the music I wanted to hear but was never written.

I’m not saying I created the ultimate of the genre.  Of course not, not even for me.  There is no “perfection”.  I will most likely revisit this style again.  Yet it is music I wanted to hear that was never recorded.  If others like it, great!  If not, oh well, it satisfies something inside of me much more than trying to write for someone else.

I understand the point of marketing and market research.  I understand creating art that is salable.  I understand all of it.  But sometimes I just need to satisfy myself.

I think all artists need at least a little of “what I’ve always wanted” in their art.  The book they’ve always wanted to read, the song they’ve always wanted to hear.  It may not be great art, but it is very satisfying.

If you missed it, here is the music:

(Click here if you don’t see the embedded video)

14 thoughts on “Just What I’ve Been Waiting For

  1. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee – 3/12/2016 | Trent's World (the Blog)

  2. Charlotte Hoather

    Good point, I was thinking about recording the Haugtussa cycle in Norwegian, I believe it’s important to sing in the original language of the composition for integrity and to keep minor languages alive, I did this years dissertation on it, I’m due to be interviewed as the final part of the mark and I need to find some more researched opinion to back up my theories. I have sung them for English audiences and from feedback they’d like more translation in my program, so I’ve done that for my next recital and discover if that makes it more enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charlotte Hoather

    I like your composition, I got thinking about your message and I get told all the time I should adjust my programs to try to win, or people won’t want to listen to that its not known, and while I’m still a student I can experiment and put out and perform my favourite pieces, I guess when you’re trying to earn a living from your art you may have to think differently but I hope not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      In my opinion, if you Aren’t doing what you love it shows and the audience knows. And of course once you make a name for yourself it is easier to do what you want. Still, you can’t be in the extreme hinterland either.
      I think of Hillary Hahn who champions modern music yet on her CDs usually has a Romantic companion to her modern choice like Schoenberg and Sibelius, Shostakovitch and Mendelssohn or Stravinsky and Brahms. I think she found a way to balance what people want to hear with what she wants to play.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. idiotwriter

    Soooo… just because you HAVE to (and you HAVE to) create things that YOU need to hear/see/read etc… doe snot mean it cannot fit into SOME kind of genre and be ‘aimed’ after the fact of its creation to some sort of target audience.
    It is hard finding what that is or the nearest thing to it. Sometimes it needs an outside perspective to find those things WITHIN your creations. ;) (love the top image by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yep, that’s sometimes it. And if I don’t play/write/draw what I need to but what I think people want, then many can tell it is false.

      The image at the top is funny – I did a painting of a photo of some rivets on a rusty bridge. There was still just a little faded blue paint. I took a clip of the painting, turned it upside down and made it into a star in a nebula. I put it in the video that’s on this page, but I didn’t animate it. I think I’ll try animating it for my next spacey video.


    1. trentpmcd Post author

      That’s pretty much how I feel, I’m just surprised by how many people recommend the opposite. I’m talking about reading it in books and magazines, often written by agents, publishers and other “experts”. Almost as bad as those books about writing books by formula. “On page 86 you have to….” Right. I’ll just paraphrase Frank and do it my way.



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