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Like if Louis C.K. made an Indie Rock band with the Beatles.

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RE: Goals, Temerity, and the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest

Andrew West

Dear you,

I had the idea to write a blog on the band blog about submitting a video for the 2017 Tiny Desk contest. Let's start with the truth:

  1. I'm not even drafting this right now on the band blog, I'm drafting it in a word document separate from the band blog. That probably says something about temerity.

  2. Probably my impulse for wanting to draft a blog about the submission is a desire to set myself apart from the other ~10,000 videos that will undoubtably be submitted for this contest. In a sea of talented and deserving submissions, why would you not do anything possible to make yours stand out?

Around the end of 2016, when the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest was announced, I was reading some self help books and making goals. The book said, “set one goal that would be a huge, life changing goal,” and so I pulled a business card out from the desk in my bedroom, wrote on the back of it, “Win the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest,” and put it behind my driver's license in my wallet. I pulled out my notebook and wrote in a circle, in the middle of a blank page, “Win Tiny Desk 2017” I drew lines out from the center circle like spokes of a bicycle wheel and attempted to chunk down the steps necessary to achieve my goal. I identified dates by which I wanted to have the song rehearsed, the venue for filming booked, the video filmed, and submitted.

See also; a schizophranic doing math with a permanent marker on his dorm room window

See also; a schizophranic doing math with a permanent marker on his dorm room window

More truth: I wasn't perfect. I didn't review my goals and my game plan every day. As I sit here, headphones on (Louis Armstrong) in a dim living room in front of the AFC Championship game, I'm on a streak of too many days without reading the next chapter of my self help book. Rehearsals did not all go perfectly. I didn't order a replacement capsule for a microphone that I intended to use. I submitted my video today, January 22nd, even though my original goal was to have it submitted by the 19th.

But I'm proud of the video. I'm proud of the band for arranging background vocals, memorizing lyrics, and playing with energy and proper dynamics. I'm happy with how the audio turned out. I am proud of the song, I think it has an important message, and I think we deliver it well. I think we have as good a shot of anyone of winning this thing.

What I'm having difficulty with is saying that out loud. I have watched Tiny Desk Concerts and Tiny Desk Contest submissions, and been a part of the Denver music scene long enough to recognize what an incredible amount of incredible music there is out there. So there's a large part of me saying, “who are you to think that you have a shot at this thing?” Another part of me in acutely aware of social pressures, afraid of announcing to strangers and acquaintances and friends and concerned family and the ether that I want to win; because in doing that I open myself up to a more public, more painful failure than the one that I may experience if I just keep my hopes to myself.

And (swear to God I didn't know I was headed this direction when I started writing this thing), in a sort of tangential way, that's what “The Introvert's Dilemma” is about. Not being afraid to say the things that you think, the things that you feel. Recognizing that your thoughts and feelings are every bit as valid as the thoughts and feelings of louder, prettier, more verbose people. Because if you don't say them, they might as well not exist. And you never know who might just care about what you're saying if you take the chance to say it.

(Editor's Note: It should be said, that a good two thirds of the song is about being open to and listening to each other, and treating each other in a fair way. But I digress).

So this is our beautiful, fun, imperfect, maybe awkwardly self aware submission for the 2017 Tiny Desk Contest. I know I don't have control over whether or not I win, and I have no doubt that whoever wins will deserve it.

But I love this song. I love how our video turned out this year. I hope that you love watching and listening to it.

And if you happen to be one of the judges of this year's contest, I hope this song sticks in your head when you start your deliberations ;).