I’m up in the mountains. High up. There is snow lying a foot and a half
deep on the ground. It weighs down the boughs of the pine trees and
sits on the steeply-gabled rooftops. Cloud fronts creep in and creep
out, seeping around the bare, jagged peaks, and although the world up
there in the rocks looks cold and ragged, I am impressed again and
again as I crunch through the snow by the quiet. It is so quiet
here. There is, of course, the creek. You can hear that for a ways as
what little water thaws on the slopes makes its way down the river to
the valley far below me. And there is also the occasional whoosh
as some heavy bank of snow slips off the branch it has piled up on and
whumps to the ground below. It is a sound that seems magnified in the
stillness, like the sound of a girl pulling her heavy hair away from
her sweatered shoulders and letting it fall back...
Darius and I landed in Dublin at about six in the morning and took a
bus into the center of town. People were bundled against the wet cold
and the sky was low to the ground. A month earlier I’d met Glen Hansard
at an open mic Cambridge, Massachusetts and he’d invited me to come
over and open some shows for him. Taking him at his word, I booked a
flight to Ireland for myself and Darius (at $93 a pop) and headed over
in early January. For the rest of the day we trudged around town in the
rain, getting to the venue about four hours early. It was my first
opening gig and I didn’t want to be late....
Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy, Iago warns Othello, It is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on.
the envy of someone else or someone else’s possessions, cannot kill a
life in music, but it can rob that life of all the sweetness that’s to
be had in it. This chapter is on learning to reconcile yourself with
feelings of jealousy and of ambition. How you learn to cope with each
will be crucial in how much you’re able to enjoy the career you’re
working hard to make.
Before I go on, I’d like to state, for the record...
Management, and what a manager does, are perhaps the greatest sources
of consternation and confusion that I encounter from people getting
started in the music business.
I’ve been incredibly lucky and
blessed to have had, from early on, some very important relationships
that have shaped my life and music career. Certainly one of the most
profound of these is Darius Zelkha, my best friend and manager for the
last thirteen years. There is nothing in my musical life, from my
records to my ideas about goals to the very tour I’m on right now
(Ottawa!), that Darius hasn’t been instrumental in the envisioning and
formation of. And yet, none of these things happened by magic. There is
no great well of secrets that good managers claim to draw from, just
like there is no magic well from which songwriters net their songs.
When someone comes up to ask me about getting a manager, I have two
choices to make: I can watch their eyes glaze over as I tell them the
truth - that they probably already know a manager in their lives and
that hard work is the key to a career, or I can wish them luck. Most