Why failing at being a ‘famous pop star’ was the best thing I ever did!

I Heart Songwriting Club is a global community of passionate songwriters who love to help and inspire people to become great songwriters!

When I was younger, my dream was to become a ‘famous pop star.’ I didn’t really know what that meant. Or what that job description entailed. All I knew was that if people worldwide knew my name and could sing along to my songs, I would be ok. I would be whole and loved. All my problems would magically disappear.

How wrong I was!

I primarily spent the first thirty years of my life figuring out that all the things I thought about being a ‘pop star’ mainly were completely false. I learned that having a life goal such as ‘becoming a famous pop star’ would grate against every grain in my little body.

I’m shy. I’m the worst schmoozer you’ve ever met. I prefer a quiet night in. Listening to music and eating vegan food with close friends over a late night out at a rock venue. The big one? I don’t want to be told what to do to sell records for my music.

Making the art, I want to make is more important to me than making money (or making money for someone else)…

Now don’t get me wrong – constructive criticism is the BEST. Especially when it comes from people you admire and trust. But the motive must be right. For me, trying to make a song ‘radio friendly’ is just ONE of many musical challenges a songwriter might face. But, if this is the only goal, there is simply no room for growth.

When I returned from living briefly in New York on the eve of my 30th birthday, I realised I had to find a way to thrive as a musician. Not rely on my original music to be my primary income. I had tried for so long to make this my path. But the universe wouldn’t have a bar of it! So, instead of quitting altogether (which probably would have made me feel bitter and angry), I set out to rediscover why I became a musician in the first place. What was it about playing music that my soul needed so badly? How could I get reacquainted with these values?


So, I started a community choir called Cheep Trill on a whim. The thing that had been missing in my life as I strived and failed to become a ‘famous popstar’ and get my music heard was the ability to live out my belief that music was BIGGER than I could ever be. My purpose was to bring people together, use music as my platform, and help to create community and connection.

Around the same time, my dear friend Francesca de Valence started a songwriting club. After feeling down and out, isolated and disconnected, and feeling a lack of camaraderie in our own lives, we had both discovered a shared passion – creating supportive musical communities. So, just as I was trying to encourage people to find their unique voice through group singing, Francesca encouraged I Heart Songwriting Club members to find their unique voice through the songwriting process.

And I am proud to say that I am one of the songwriters who has significantly benefited from I Heart Songwriting Club.

Cheep Trill and I Heart Songwriting Club have grown exponentially since their inception.

My goal is not to be the best singer in the world.

My goal is not to sell millions of copies of your song and reach number 1 on the charts. Also, my goal is to keep growing, be challenged, think outside the box, try new things, and do all of this in a supportive, non-competitive, nurturing community.

I Heart Songwriting Club permits songwriters to try new things. Week in, week out. Sometimes these new ideas work, sometimes they don’t, but the point is TO TRY. To make things a bit easier, Francesca sets a theme each week as well as a musical challenge to keep us on our toes!

I am thrilled to say that three of the original songs in my new show, Broken Romantics: A Vicious Song Cycle, were written as part of the Club. This includes the title track, which is also on my upcoming EP – ‘Broken Romantics Unite’! I’m also thrilled to say that one of the songs I wrote as part of the Club, Love Is Love, became a song for my choir, which we filmed as a live music video in response to the recent marriage equality survey.

Broken Romantics Unite was a song I wrote when ‘endurance’ was the week’s theme. The musical challenge was to incorporate a concrete image or a place into the lyrics. I used my street name. The opening verse goes like this:

Just keep moving, one foot then the other
Shuffle to the door, my Somerset St dancer
He might never know the beautiful mess
That’s between your ears – the Somerset St best

White Bits is a comedy song about wild fetishes that emerged from the theme ‘temptations’.

And the song Love Is Love was born from the theme ‘vows’, and the musical challenge was to write a ‘protest song’.

Mission accepted!

Even though these songs are my little ‘song success stories, there are so many songs that I have written as part of the Club that will never see the light of day. Speaking of The Light of Day, this is another song written as part of the Club on the upcoming EP. But, I digress, these songs that you’ll never hear are my ‘little song failures’, and do you know what? I’m just as proud of those songs because they were an important part of my songwriting growth!

Failing is an IMPORTANT part of life. If we were all paralysed with fear at the thought of failing at something, no one would ever try anything new. And how BORING would it be if we stopped learning and growing?

Let’s never stop.

So, I might not have succeeded at living out my childhood dream of becoming a ‘famous pop star.’ However, my love for music, connection, and community is far bigger. It was only through trying and failing that this beautiful discovery was eventually realised!

So if you want to try your hand at something new, don’t be afraid! Jump in, and don’t worry too much about where you might land.

Just enjoy the ride.

By |2022-04-13T08:35:38+10:00December 1st, 2017|0 Comments

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