I am an Americana singer/songwriter, newly moved to Nashville Tennessee. I never began referring to myself by genre till I moved here...but I'm learning that it's kind of morally deficient or something to scratch your head and go, "Uuuuuuhhhh, I dunno really" when asked ...innocently enough, of course..."What kind of stuff do you do?" I used to smile and say "I'm a receptionist!" (because that was the truth for alot of years)...but now I'm retired from that to be a musician full time, so I've been working on having a good steady answer ready on that rare occasion when anyone does ask.
Don't misunderstand me. I have been happily, messily writing and performing my own music for over thirty years, sometimes alone and sometimes in the company of others. I have to say that I enjoy every solitary stinking minute of it, even when it makes me feel like beating my head (or someone else's) against the nearest wall. I don't know how to explain it or justify it other than to say that, yes, that's right, to those who don't do it or care about it, this activity makes no sense at all...but it keeps a smile on my face. Figuratively if not literally.
I have read alot of those articles, and had alot of those (mostly one-sided) conversations where somebody who obviously knows alot more about all this stuff than I do tells me (or shows me with graphs and pie charts and what have you) that a very small percentage of the people in this world who make music are actually making money at it, and an even SMALLER portion of those people are actually making a living at it. And of all those poor bastards, only Bruce Springsteen and U2 and Lady freakin Gaga and Hannah Montana are making the REAL bucks. I have been in that conversation alot; I have no idea what it is about my face in particular that makes people want to tell me these things. Especially since I pretty much always find myself leaving for the ladies' room about two thirds of the way through it.
So. I got onto No Depression as a way to raise my musical profile a little. I have business cards. This year I'm working on my third album. I play writers' nights. My husband and I travel from town to town in search of everything from cozy nooks to hostile sewers to play our tunes. We do house concerts. We've been known to busk. We kiss babies. Mostly, I try to focus on the thing that drew me in at the beginning...that experience of making up songs and sharing them with people. That giving a voice to something . That's the thing.
Rob Zombie was out there asking "What does music really mean to you people?" I don't know about anybody else, but that's what it means to me.