Songwriting - Labor of Love.

Sometimes I wonder why we continue to do this thing… songwriting. I am a professional songwriter. It is literally what I do to try to put food on the table. I teach it at the college level, working with talented young people trying to break into the biz. I hang with songwriters too: in the studio, at open mics, in coffee shops… and sometimes in AWESOME performances, like The Hook at the Ontario Performing Arts Center in Oswego, NY.

All of us have one thing in common. We all know that it is impossible! It’s not even about getting a “hit.” It’s just trying to get by. It’s trying to produce what you hear in your head on a budget so tight, it sometimes means giving up the finer things in life to finance yet another hopeless studio session. We write because we have to. We tirelessly, sometimes fruitlessly wrestle with a dictionary full of words to craft the perfectly turned phrase. A twenty-five word masterpiece that tells the whole story. And that’s before we find the perfect few notes that make that story ring true.

Before I go any further, I must share how beautiful it feels to be in a room full of people who understand. The Hook is one of CNYs great treasures. Songwriters showcased in a wonderful space, with an audience full of music enthusiasts. It was such a pleasure to share our newest works with such an outstanding group of listeners. Without them, we would be shouting at the wind. This past Friday, my fellow songwriters Michael Judge and Juliet Forshaw, Jim Shaffer, and Doug Moncrief played in Songwriter Heaven. And a big thank you to TJ James and Brian Dice on sound with SUNY interns Gio and Sam. Our MC for the evening, Cam Caruso surprised us. One of the best singers in the world is also a great MC!! Who knew? John McConnell who produces the remarkable. The Hook!! It's what it's all about.

Look, I know that some of you who read my Journal know what I’m talking about. You’re “hooked” too. But, my hope is that Club owners, people who like music, promoters, and audience members give a songwriter just a fair listen. Ya know… every hit song… the ones you want us to play over and over again… were written by a wannabee songwriter. Somebody like Springsteen, McCartney, Sheeran… they all paid their dues.

Here’s to the songwriters! The ones who keep writing, knowing that their work is important… even if it’s not celebrated…. yet.

Todd Hobin