Mark Hansen Music - LDS Rock Music - Free Downloads

Mark Hansen Music - LDS Rock Music - Free Downloads
Get the new CD, "The Third Time" HERE

WARNING: Listening to this music doesn't require parental approval. It's a bit of clean rebellion. It keeps your outlook up and your hope alive. It's got strong drums and screaming guitars. It pumps you up and drives your life. It's a hunger for exploration. It chooses the right and returns with honor. It's music you don't have to confess to your bishop.

It's not your parents' "Saturday’s Warrior".

It's "A Joyful Noise"

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Making LDS Music - The Freedom of Obscurity

Today, I'm going to tell you about a principle that has guided me throughout my "career" in LDS music.  I'm also going to tell you the story of the moment that this epiphany was cemented in my being.

I wish I could tell you that I heard it in General Conference, or read it in the scriptures.  But truth is truth wherever you find it. 

Even in a Dilbert cartoon:

One day, I was setting up to do an "unplugged" gig in a mall.  It was some kind of family-oriented special day.  There were craft booths and things.  People were walking by and I regarded them as they did.  I wondered, should I play my more overtly religious songs? 

At first, I thought, this is a public mall, and people don't want to be preached to in a public mall.  Then, I thought about not being embarrassed of my testimony, and declaring the good word of God to the yearning masses who are lost and struggling.  Finally, after a few songs, I thought of Dilbert, and I realized that I might as well please God and myself, because nobody else was paying attention anyway!

In the end, I had a great time playing all of my songs, I got a few smiles, and the only life that was probably changed was mine.  But it was changed for the better.

Years later, as I was preparing my "One United Generation" CD, I thought how cool it would be to include the scripture references next to the song names on the back cover.  My friend advised against it.  "You'll limit your audience," they said.  In the end, I went along with him.

...And because I hid my faith, I'm now rolling in wealth and fame.


No?  No wealth?  No fame?

I did manage to sell a few copies, but the world mostly ignored that CD.  So, on my second CD, "Lost and Found", I brazenly included the scripture references.  So far, it has managed to sell about the same number of copies as "Generation" did.  I've learned my lesson.

This motto impacts me in the creating process, too.  Often, in a songwriting critique session, someone will tell me that I have too many choruses, or that my intro is too long, or any of a number of rule-breaking deal-breakers.  They tell me that if I don't fix it, it will be tough to sell my song to a publisher. I accept the advice graciously, but often in my head, a voice is saying, "Right.  Because the publishers and radio programmers are already pounding down my door..."

Critique and improving your craft is good, and it's important to get good feedback.  It's also important to learn which feedback will take you to the place you want to be, and which feedback you can choose to artistically ignore.

In the end, always be true to yourself and to God.  Frankly, nobody else is really paying attention.


Come back often to hear about new songs and shows. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including his Dutch Oven blog: Mark's Black Pot and his LDS pop culture blog: MoBoy blog.


Gary McCallister said...

I tried leaving a comment yesterday about being in tune, but apparently it didn't go through or something. Think I'll try again.

I have discovered the same thing, Mark. But There is also an aspect you have forgotten. There are other people paying attention: your wife, children, parents, brothers and sisters, friends, ward members, and more. They don't translate into money. They don;t translate into fame of a worldly sort. They translate into love and affection, testimony, example, peace and harmony.

mrkhmusic said...

You're absolutely right, Gary. Thanks for pointing that out. I always get a special thrill when my kids sing my songs.

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