As I type this, Esperanza Spalding is in the middle of writing, performing and producing a 10-song record in just 72 hours! Wow! That’s only three days. Who in the world could ever do that?!?!
Well, as it turns out …I could. In fact, I did. Me and my long time friend Scott Krippayne did this VERY thing four years ago. Well …we didn’t QUITE do this very thing. We didn’t do it in 72 hours. Actually …we did it in 24. Actually, 23 hours and 24 minutes …but who’s counting?
We walked into Studio A (Ben Folds’ place), on Music Row, at 7:15 in the morning. And when we left at 6:53 the following morning, we had written and recorded 10 songs from scratch. That record was called The 24 Hour Conspiracy. And it’s something I’m really proud of. So why didn’t WE get the press coverage and all the attention? I mean, we were the only two American Idol songwriting winners. We are both Grammy and Dove recipients. We’ve had 30 number one songs between us. It seems like our little idea should’ve gotten a lot of play. Right?
It seems like we should’ve been on the cover of Rolling Stone and Billboard and Songwriter magazine. Heck, at least we should’ve been in the local, Nashville paper. The problem we had was a remarkably simple one: timing.
I’ve been on the receiving end of special, other worldly moments. I’ve seen “the planets line up” as they say. And the one thing I can tell you about that phenomenon is that when ALL the components are working correctly and in alignment, things are almost too easy. Everything you think SHOULD happen …does. In fact, things you never dreamed could happen …do. It’s almost as if every movement of your being is directed by some higher intelligence that will not let you fail or fall. And nothing you do can stop it.
I’ve seen this happen with hit songs and with viral blogs and videos. When something is resonating …it just is. And you know that you and the rest of humanity are on the same wave length. And that universal vibration cannot be interrupted. It’s like a wave. And you just have to ride it until it crashes.
Conversely, when those components are NOT lined up, there is almost nothing you can do to force them into line. Trust me. I’ve tried. You can have all the right people surrounding an endeavor. You can have all the power on earth directed toward your goal. But if the resonation isn’t tuned in to just the right frequency, the mark will be missed. And even if you miss it by an inch, it’s off. I’ve always said, if you miss it by an inch, you miss it by a mile.
To my detriment, I don’t know all the mechanics of what creates that resonating wave we’re all looking to catch. I never know if a song is going to be a hit or if a blog is going to go viral …or if a 24-hour record project is going to catch fire. I’m just a fisherman, or a miner, or a gambler. I work at creating. The art of selling those creations is one I’ve never mastered. But I can feel it when something is off; the wrong combination of people involved; the wrong message at the wrong time; the energy surrounding it. I can also feel it when it’s right.
I watched Hillary Clinton talk about her new book, What Happened, over the weekend. And in a weird way, my heart kinda went out to her. I’m not a fan of Hillary Clinton. But as someone who has seen big dreams get shattered and watched what I thought were supposed to be MY moments get stolen by other people, I can sympathize with her on some level. And watching her twist and turn and contort and try to make sense of something she still doesn’t understand is difficult to watch. I’ve been there. But if you really saw it for what it was, you understood that the wave, the timing, the temperature and THE TECHNOLOGY was on her opponent’s side. And there wasn’t going to be anything stopping it.
I’m mildly interested in Esperanza’s record. I know what it takes to pull something like that off and it’s tough. And I wonder what the response will be. One little thing she has going for her is Face Book live. That wasn’t around when Scott and I were doing our 24-hour record. And if it had, that ONE THING might’ve been the difference maker. Again …timing is everything. And sometimes, being slightly ahead of your time just leaves you standing in a future nobody quite understands yet …alone.
When it comes to politics, music, entertainment, technology, art or even LOVE, you can’t force something to work. It either does or it doesn’t. You’re either hitting it off with that person, or you’re not. Sparks are flying …or they’re not. That song is lighting you up …or it’s not. That idea is getting legs and wings and rocket fuel …or it’s not. You’re either connecting and resonating …or you’re not.
It doesn’t mean you quit when things get hard. But it does mean you have to keep your spiritual and intuitive side as in tune with what you’re doing as your logical and practical side.
And if you’re in enough places at enough times, one of them will be the right place at the right time. And your melody will ring true …your idea will resonate …your message will inspire …your work will pay off …your eyes will lock with hers or his …and you’ll know you’re in the zone.
And when that happens, nothing on earth will be able to stop you. You will be able to accomplish almost anything in 72 hours …or maybe 24.