By Kat Goldman
Post Album Blues
It was the middle of winter with sub-zero temperatures in Toronto, and I was in a slump. I had just released my newest album,
and after riding a three-year crest of writing, recording, and then promoting the songs, I came crashing down into one, great, big, black, hole.
I began every morning weeping to that Marriott Hotel commercial on television. Something like: “Come Home… To- The Marriott Hotel.” Every time I went to order a coffee at Starbucks, I would break down sobbing, and not just because I couldn’t pronounce “Grande Caramel Macchiato!” I’d been wearing my pyjamas and day clothes interchangeably for months.
Even the dog seemed down. I was suffering from a bad case of Post-Album Blues.
Thing is, once you release your album, you have no idea how to get people to hear it ! You go from being a creator to a competitor, fighting to have your album recognized in an overly saturated market of endless songwriters who are doing the same. There is no promise of success, and, though you hope, with all your might, for some great reward- the reality is that after about six months, people begin to lose interest in your project.
With every new album, you hope all over again. You hope this could be the “ONE” that has honed your craft, and vision, and that this will be recognized by hoards of people, mostly in America…
(You begin to fantasize that Emmy Lou Harris will call you up and ask you to tea, and that she will cover one of your songs. You imagine Elton John inviting you to one of his wild and lavish parties, and then he lets you try on his sunglasses. You dream of sitting around “Big Pink” with Bob Dylan, and Robbie Robertson, trading off songs on guitar, and eating bar-b-que…)
After all the hard work that goes into it, and after the extraordinary high you get from working with a great producer, and collaborating with supremely talented musicians, everything just comes to a grinding halt, and you find yourself veritably lost.
I was burnt out and just plain spent. I decided it was time to go to Mexico. I needed to speak to “Arturo,” a psychic I knew in Playa Del Carmen.
For forty US dollars, Arturo will read your tarot cards. He’s a gifted telepath who grew up near the Texas border. He looks part wizard / part Jesus, and has long blonde hair and luminous blue eyes. I found him in the same spot where I last saw him, five years earlier, at the same table, drinking a smoothie, three blocks up from the beach.
I asked him, of course, my most impending question: where was my music career heading? No surprise I drew The “DEATH” card. But Arturo said it signified good changes ahead:
“You’re going to have people helping you,” he said, in a long, drawn-out, and sexy Mexican accent.
“Really?” I asked. “People are going to help me?”
“Yes,” he said, “In the next year. You are going to be rewarded for your efforts. Just keep going.”
I exhaled. “Wow. So just keep at it then?”
“Just keep at it,” he said.
“You don’t think I should get a law degree or something? There’s still time for a Master’s Program!” I suggested.
“You are on the right path,” he said. “Don’t worry. People are going to help you. Now. Let’s talk about your hair.”
“My hair?” I asked him.
“You need to change your hair,” he said.
“Really?” I asked, tilting my head to one side. “That’s so funny, because I had actually been wondering whether to grow it long, or keep it short!”
“Shorter would be better,” he said.
“Interesting. So you think shorter then?” I asked.
“Shorter,” he said.
“And bangs,” I said, “What do you think of bangs?”
“You could do bangs,” he said.
I was so relieved. His clairvoyance was off the charts.
That night I walked along the beach and looked up at all the stars. Suddenly I could hear a new melody forming in my head. It was another song that wanted to get written. I knew in that moment I had to keep going. Success or not, I realized I can never stop making music.
I always find the answers in Mexico.