The Chance of A Lifetime?
Uber did a really cool thing last week. In partnership with Warner Music Nashville they did something called #UberBigBreak. The idea behind it was that on Tuesday, November 10, between the hours of 11AM and 2PM, if you requested a “Big Break” ride via Uber in Nashville, and got connected, you would be picked up and taken directly to one of several execs at the label so that you could perform or show off your talent and leave a demo.
Needless to say, I was all in on this one! Uber’s press releases touted that there were many musicians in Nashville looking for their “big break” and that this was their chance to play their music in front of actual real people at Warner. The press releases even had quotes from various execs, some even talking about looking forward to “hearing new music” in Nashville.
So I got tarted up, burned some non-vocal accompaniment tracks to a CD and took my acoustic guitar so that I had things well in-hand, and drove down town on the morning of the 10th. I parked in the library garage, and right at 11 opened my Uber to request a ride. By 11:08AM, I was able to connect to a driver.
Holy shit! I’m going to be performing in front of a record exec!
Nervous as a… well who gives a care what – I’m going to be performing in front of a record exec! – I snagged my guitar out of the trunk, checked my… erm… hat… and prepared to get picked up.
My phone rang. It was my Uber driver.
“Hey,” he said, “I see you requested Big Break. Do you know what Big Break is?”
“I sure do,” I replied.
“What kind of music do you do?”
“It’s mostly Euro Pop/Rock.”
“Okay,” he finally replied. “I’m really sorry but this is for country artists only.”
I instantly had a mild heart attack.
“Oh… I wasn’t aware of that. There was nothing that said that.”
“I’m sorry… Are you sure you don’t have any country songs?”
I paused. In the next five seconds I had a big decision to make. I actually do have quite a few songs that could pass as country. I could take this ride and get in front of an exec and perform them. I mean… if that’s the only way this is going to happen.
But I’m not a country artist. I have no intention of being a country artist. I am what I am.
“No,” I said. “I don’t.”
“Are you sure?”
I paused again, and really thought about it. If I took this ride, knowing that I didn’t really want to be a country artist, I’d essentially be taking it from someone else. Someone that maybe wants to be a country artist. Someone that is good enough to go the distance with it. Someone that may not get his/her/their opportunity because someone who doesn’t want to be a country star took a ride that was supposed to be for him/her/them.
What if it were flipped around, and the person on the line with this driver was a country artist who didn’t want to be Euro Pop/Rock, but that was all they were looking for?
“Yes, I said, I’m sure.”
We ended the call, and I stood there in the parking garage holding my guitar and my CD feeling completely deflated. I was prepared to not get connected to a ride. I was prepared to go in and perform and not get picked up. Heck, I was even prepared to be told I sucked donkey butt.
But I was not prepared to get cut off somewhere in between.
I sat in the car for half an hour (it wasn’t going to cost me more anyway) and tried to calm down. I tweeted Uber_Nashville‘s account and asked if they were only taking Country artists. The response was yes… after all, Warner Music Nashville is a Country label.
I was quite miffed but I honestly wasn’t sure who I was mad at. None of the press releases at the time said anything about it being country-only (this one does, but if you look at the post time stamp it was well after 2PM) and certainly, since this is called “Music City”, one would think that if you spoke about “music” in a general sense in the press releases, it would be very easy for an eager beaver to ascertain that this cool opportunity was open to musicians of varying styles and genres.
Maybe I’m a moron because I’m the only person in Nashville who didn’t realize Warner Music Nashville was a country-only label. Maybe I should have actually done the research on them before I went headlong into this.
(For the record, I’m not upset with Uber or Warner Music Nashville. A little extra clarity would have been nice but… maybe that didn’t occur to them. I don’t think they really did anything particularly wrong).
In the end I decided that this wasn’t the opportunity for me. And that’s totally okay. My opportunity is coming, and it’s further down the road, but this wasn’t it. In a strange way this experience reminded me of that. It told me to “keep on going” because it’s around the corner. It was a test not to let something like this get in the way and bring me down, as other things in the past have. This isn’t the old me that was trying to do this before – it’s an all new one.
My Big Break is coming. And it’ll be Uber Awesome!