Here’s a riddle for ya….

Here’s part of an awesome interview with John Ondrasik (Five for Fighting), who has a new album called “Bookmarks.” Very interesting to hear what he has to say about the music industry:

Mike Ragogna: …given the state of the music business, how does an artist keep their energy up anyway? Like, how do you stay energized?

JO: That’s a great question, and maybe one that I should answer to my therapist. It’s a real battle and especially when you have a certain amount of success you want to continue to achieve that. When you don’t… We’re all human, right? It’s still a shock to the system and it’s depressing and as grateful as I am for the success I have, it’s harder and harder. Every artist, I don’t care who you are, goes through it.

Now sure, it’s nice to be Bruce Springsteen and be an icon who can still go play arenas, but I can guarantee you he’s still pissed off he can’t get on the radio.

… I think there are some things you can do. I think social platforms really help, knowing that you can reach out to people on Twitter and Facebook and that there is an audience for what you do. It may not be as large as it used to be, but these people probably care more and most of these folks will probably hear your song and buy your single. I think you kind of do it for them and also you have to find reasons to do it for yourself.

For me, I really enjoy writing songs, I enjoy making records, I enjoy working with people I like, and you have to recognize that and you have to kind of switch your mindset from “Okay, what is success? Is success getting better as a songwriter? Is success enjoying your life? Or is success having a number one single?” If you can’t do that, you’re going to be pretty depressed because we all hit that wall. I hope I have hit songs, because when you have hit songs, you can do a lot of other stuff and raise your profile and it’s fun.

But that’s great question and I don’t know if I have an answer for you because it is one I look at, and there are days where I go, “Maybe I should hang it up because it’s a grind and it’s not fun and I’ve had a great career.” But to this point, I’ve found the energy to do it and the thing that really does it, to be honest with you… Mike, last night I had a radio show down in Palm Springs, I drove down to Palm Springs, a hundred people were there.

You play a few songs, you play “What If,” and then you take pictures for an hour and these people walk up to you and they have stories of how your songs affected their lives. They have a comment on how they just heard “What If” and what it means to them. You get that personal interaction and that personal feedback, and you’re like “Okay. It’s good. I see why we do it,” and my own insecurities and all that stuff is a little shallow, so maybe I should back up and appreciate what I do and that I can do it and that I don’t have a real job.

MR: What advice do you have for new artists?

JO: Definitely milk the social platforms. I think as frustrating as it can be within the major labels, music is being consumed more now than ever and it’s easier than ever to get your music heard. That was my problem coming up. So really work Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, all the music sites, build your following, build your audience. You may do better without a label financially and career-wise. Get out and play gigs. That’s the other thing I say. It’s easy to sit in your room and write a song for your friends, but get out and play gigs. You will learn much more about yourself and your music. So social platforms, play gigs, enjoy what you do.


Play gigs, did you hear that, David?… gigs. We will all be there, bud.

Read whole interview here (scroll down).

P.S. The lovely and amazing JR4DA posted this from her own “vault”… I have never seen this! (Check out the “DAVID COMES HOME!” across the bottom of the screen about half-way through ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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9 Responses to Here’s a riddle for ya….

  1. oliveoil says:

    Tofan, I would be extremely happy if David has a career like that. I’ve always loved JO’s music.His lyrics are meaningful, relatable and make me think. He is also very true to his core values, His melodies are catchy and stick in my head. I believe David can make that kind of music.I can’t see him going the JT/Bruno Mars route.


    “GIGS”. Dang, how I love that word! To me it means smaller and more personal, just the way I would always prefer to see David perform. I know that the barometer for success in today’s industry seems to be whether or not an artist can fill an arena, but there is no way an artist can connect with their fans on an intimate level in that environment regardless of being surrounded by jumbotrons. It seems to me that most of the artists that perform in arenas nowadays need to come accompanied with smoke and mirrors. All David needs to do is show up with his voice and some respectable musicians along with his charming personality and magic happens.

    Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see him get the validation of drawing arena sized crowds, but I will always prefer to see him perform in an intimate setting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. oliveoil says:

    Joni, I agree with everything you said.

    • Thank you! It didn’t quite come out the way I wanted but you still understood it! LOL

    • TOfan says:

      me too!

      I really loved reading that what keeps John going is his interaction with his fans. I used to think we were all “chosen” to be David fans because our “job” was to promote him, spread the word, etc., so he could get the recognition he so deserves. Now I think I see what’s really going on… by letting him know how much his music means to us and what a difference it’s made in our lives, or just by letting him know we’re still here cheering him on, will hopefully give him the motivation he needs to get through those tough days in the music biz.

      “gigs” … any size at all … yes, please!

  4. “I WOULD SO BE THERE” but y’all knew what I meant! LOL

  5. Grammyj says:

    I say AMEN to all the comments here. David needs to sing LIVE all over – play gigs! I hope that is what he does when he returns. He needs to get his band together and tour all over. I totally agree with you TOfan that David wants to know that his music is meaningful to us, his fans. I know that is way more important to him than being a superstar.

  6. oliveoil says:

    David doesn’t just WANT to sing. David HAS to sing !!!! And your fans will be there when you do !! DA2014 ……can’t WAIT !!!

  7. Rose says:

    Joni: You voiced something I’ve often felt and rarely hear commented, “respectable musicians”. I’ve heard David a number of times now where I’ve thought it would have been better if he’d just sat down at a piano and accompanied himself (or even a cappella). When he has good musicians, he’s fantastic.

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